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Submitted In partial iulftlment of the requirements for the 

decree of Doctor of Philosophy, In the Faculty of 

Political Science, Columbia University 


Copyright, 1906, by 
J. G. DB EouLHAC Hamilton. 


Bbcbbsion and War in North Carolina. 


1. Disunion Sentiment Prior to 1860 3 

2. The Campaign of 1860 11 

8. The Secession Movement 14 

4. Secession and War 27 

5. War Politics and the Peace Movement 37 

6. Financial and Economic Conditions in War. 66 

The Beginnings of Bbconstruction During the War. 

1. The Hatteras Convention and Government 78 

2. The Administration of Edward Stanlj 84 

3. The Downfall of the State Government 90 

Presidential Reconstruction. 

1. The Provisional Government 99 

2. The Convention of 1865 Ill 

3. The Campaign and Election of 1865 122 

4. The Retmn to Civil Government 130 


Political and Social Conditions Under the Restored 

1. TheFreedmen 136 

2. Conflict of the Civil and Military Powers 144 

3. State Politics in 1866 156 

4. Economic and Financial Problems 176 

6. Transportation and the Mails 184 



Military Government Under th k Kec< > n ^tr? r • > 

A .E. 

1. The Reconstruction Acts J89 

2. Military Government Under General Sickles 201 

3. Military Government Under General Canby 212 

4. State Politics and Election of 1867 218 

The Convention of 1868 and its Work 

1. The Convention of 1868 229 

2. Constitutional Changes . 247 

3. Politics and Election of 1868 252 

4. The Completion of Reconstruction 260 



Secession and War in North Caroi^ina. 

I. Disunion Sentiment in the State prior to i860. 

North Carolina after November 21, 1789, the day on which 
she adopted the Constitution of the United States, was, while 
closely allied by association, blood, and interest with the South- 
em States, strongly attached to the Union. Stirred at times 
by sectional feeling, acting always in the interest of the slave 
States, when the sectional issue was drawn, the deep love for 
the Union in all classes of the people prevented any great 
spread of disunion sentiment until long after most of the 
Southern States looked upon secession as by no means a remote 

When nullification was proposed in South Carolina it was re- 
pudiated utterly in North Carolina. Anti-nullification meetings 
were held in almost every county in the State, and resolutions 
passed, denouncing nullification and the tariff in the same terms, 
and professing attachment to the Union. In the General As- 
sembly of 1830 Jonathan Worth, the member from Randolph, 
introduced into the House resolutions declaring that, while 
the tariff laws were unequal and unjust, the right of nullifica- 
tion was not recognized by that body. They provoked a sharp 
debate, but were adopted by a large majority.^ The legislature 
of 1832, by large majorities in each house, passed resolutions 
proclaiming the unalterable attachment of the State to the Fed- 
eral Union, and declaring the theory of nullification subversive 
of the Constitution and tending to a dissolution of the Union.* 

1 House Journal, Dec. 31, 1830. 

2 Resolution®, 1832, p. 1; Journals, Dec. 26, 1832, and Jan. 7, 1833. 


The fact that slavery was less profitable here than in the 
states farther south may have accounted in some measure for 
the absence of disunion feeling. With North Carolina, as with 
Virginia and Tennessee, slavery was not of first economic im- 
portance. The large slaveholders formed a comparatively small 
part of her white population. The non-slaveholders, on the 
other hand, formed a large class. Moreover, by i860, there 
were in the State 30,000 free negroes.^ Until 1835, this latter 
class was endowed with the franchise under the same condi- 
tions as the white citizens. The amendment to the constitu- 
tion which deprived free blacks of the right to vote passed the 
convention of 1835 by only a small majority,* and was sharply 
criticised in that body and by the people. It was strongly op- 
posed by Judge Gaston, ex-Governor Swain and other leaders 
of the convention. They were, however, willing that certain 
qualifications should be required. But for the excitement 
caused by the recent Southampton trouble in Virginia, it is 
hardly probable that the privileges of the free negroes would 
have been limited at all at that time. 

But the great bond which held North Carolina to the Union 
was the Whig party. In its ranks were men of all classes and 
from its ranks came the leaders of political thought in the State 
from the time of the foundation of the party. Men of political 
wisdom, of strength, depth and patriotism guided the party, 
and through it, controlled the State. But the tendency of the 
party was conservative, and conservatism finally lost its hold 
on the people. In 1850, largely through the influence of Wil- 
liam W. Holden, the editor of the Standard, the Democratic 
organ, the Whig party was defeated and a new class of men 
assumed control — ^men of apparently equal ability, but of less 
depth, of equal patriotism, but in a narrower sense, all of high 
character, but politicians, in the main, instead of statesmen. 

8 Census of 1860. 

* Journal of the Convention of 1836, p. 74. 


The decisive battle was fought on the ever-popular issue of 
abolition of privilege. The Democrats proposed free or man- 
hood suffrage, and the conservative Whigs, while at heart op- 
posed to the change, dared not show very active opposition. 
Under the existing constitution, a freehold qualification of 
fifty acres of land was necessary for voting for State Senators. 
This put power in the hands of the landed class and was con- 
sequently opposed by the masses. Through its unpopularity, 
David S. Reid was elected governor, on the issue of its aboli- 
tion. This was the first Democratic victory since 1834. 

The credit for the victory may be given largely to Mr. 
Holden. He chose the issue and directed the campaign. This 
man, at that time a power in the State and destined to be a 
prominent figure in the history of the State for the two follow- 
ing decades, was bom in Orange county in 18 18. His early 
education was received as assistant in the office of the Hillsboro 
Recorder. From its editor, Dennis Heartt, he derived his 
politics and was an enthusiastic Whig. In 1837, ^^ went to 
Raleigh, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. 
He also became an associate on the Star, a Whig paper edited 
by Thomas Loring. His ability was soon recognized, and in 
1843, through the influence of James B. Shepherd, he was 
offered the editorship of the Standard, a Democratic paper for- 
merly edited by Philo White. He at once accepted, making the 
first of his numerous political changes of heart. While self- 
interest undoubtedly led, in great part, to his change of party, 
all his ideas were in accord with the doctrines which he now 
adopted. His paper speedily became the most ably edited in 
the State and his influence grew accordingly. 

He was an intense admirer of Calhoun and endorsed his 
theories repeatedly and vehemently.*^ In the decade from 1850 

^ A poet of some ability, so far as can be judged from his few 
attempts in that kind of literature; his best effort was a poem written 
at the death of the great South Carolinian. 


to I^6o, Mr. Holden was the strongest as well as the ablest 
advocate in North Carolina of the right of secession, being far 
in advance of his party in the State, and in full sympathy with 
the secession party in South Carolina. 

In 1850, he took advanced ground on the subject, although 
the occasion for action, in his opinion, had not arisen.® Gov- 
ernor Reid's message to the legislature in January, 1851, con- 
tained, also, a decided threat. But the legislature was not in 
accord with them on this point. The question was discussed 
as a purely abstract one, and resolutions extremely conservative 
in tone were adopted, while the series presented as a minority 
report by the committee, which declared the right existent, were 
rejected.^ The question appeared again in the campaign of 
185 1. Alfred Dockery was a Whig candidate for Congress in 
a district composed largely of counties on the South Carolina 
line, and made his campaign on the question of secession, stat- 
ing as his position, that if South Carolina should secede he 
would vote men and money "to whip her back into the Union," 
and would do the same if his own State were in question.® He 
was elected with a majority of over a thousand votes. His 

6 The following is part of one of his editorials at the time : "We 
have heard the idea recently expressed that a State has no right to 
secede frOm the Union — that there is no help from oppression except by 
revolution; in other words, that the States are the creatures and de- 
pendents of the Federal Government and, of course, subject to its phy- 
sical coercion. Such an assumption, we humbly submit, is unsupported 
by any testimony derived from the Constitution itself or from any 
single circumstance attending its foundation or adoption. It is, more- 
over, at war with all regular ideas of free republican government and 
the undoubted independence of the States, as that independence has 
been displayed in their separate organizations since 1787. We hold 
that as no State could originally have been forced into the Union, none 
can be forced in or rather prevented from going out." — Standard, Dec. 
4, 1850. 

7 Legislative Docs., 1850-1, Vol. 2, pp. 246, 261. 

8 Standard, July 2, 1851. 


district was usually a strongly contested one, the Whigs and 
Democrats being about equal in number. Edward Stanly, ex- 
pressing the same sentiments, was elected in an eastern district 
in the same year.® The Standard, although the organ of the 
Democratic party, was,. as thus appears, far in advance of party 
sentiment, or at least, more outspoken. In this same campaign 
it said, "It is sufficient for us to say that whenever the Consti- 
tution is palpably violated by Congress * * * or whenever 
that body fails to carry out the plain provisions of that instru- 
ment when required to protect Southern rights, the Union is 
dissolved, and that by a sectional majority." ^^ 

Much the same sentiments were expressed during the presi- 
dential campaign of 1856. Just before the election, a meeting 
of the Southern governers was called at Raleigh for deliber- 
ation as to the course to be pursued in the event of Fremont's 
election. Only Governor Wise, of Virginia, and Governor 
Adams, of South Carolina, came, and consequently the meet- 
ing was unimportant. An informal consultation was held at 
the Governor's Mansion, and several prominent men of Ral- 
eigh were invited to be present, including W. W. Holden, M. 
A. Bledsoe and L. O'B. Branch. This may be said to have 
been the first secession meeting held in the State. But Gov- 
ernor Bragg's position was most conservative and in sharp 
contrast to that assumed by Governor Wise. The outcome of 
the election prevented any direct result of the meeting. 

Mr. Holden had been an earnest and faithful worker for 
his party for many years and had been rewarded by no office 
of importance. He was intensely ambitious and desired a 
more definite reward than his influence, although that gave him 
power even, politically speaking, *'to kill and make alive." 
Feeling that he deserved it, in 1858, he was a candidate before 
his party for the nomination for governor. In spite of a deter- 
mined secret opposition to him, a majority of the delegates were 

» Standard, Aug. 20, 1851. 10 Ibid., Jan. 15, 1861. 


instructed for him. When the convention met in Charlotte, 
one delegate, holding a large number of proxies, although in- 
structed for him, voted for his opponent, Judge John W. Ellis, 
of Rowan, who was nominated. Mr. Holden's humble origin, 
and, to a lesser extent, his agrarian tendencies were responsible 
for his defeat. He acquiesced in the result, but with ill-con- 
cealed bitterness. With justice, he felt wronged, but visited 
his anger upon his innocent opponent, whom he accused of 
usin^ *'nieans that wonld be considered unfair by a New York 
politician." ^^ At this point began a change of sentiment in 
Mr. Holden which divided him from his party. This was has- 
tened by the failure of the legislature to elect him to the United 
States Senate at their next session. 

The State as a whole was comparatively free from discussion 
of secession during most of the decade, and when the subject 
was mentioned, it was generally only as an abstract question. 
But two events were to bring a change. In 1857, Hinton 
Rowan Helper, a native of North Carolina, published The Im- 
pending Crisis, Its attacks upon slavery aroused a storm of 
denunciation throughout the State and the whole South. To 
own a copy of the book amounted almost to political death and 
threatened social ostracism. The other event, it is needless to 
say, was John Brown's raid. This stirred the State deeply. 
Secessionists had now a forcible argument to prove the designs 
of the Northern people, and the secession movement may here 
be said to begin. Sympathy with Virginia was expressed in 
many ways. Military organizations from every part of the 
State tendered their services, but Governor Wise refused all.^^ 

In December, the Council of State met and passed resolu- 
tions approving the course pursued by Governor Wise, extend- 
ing sympathy to Virginia, and assuring him of the support of 
North Carolina in all efforts to maintain the vital interests of 
the slaveholding States, which could never be surrendered 

11 Standard, Nov. 24, 1860. 12 ibid., Nov. 23, 1869. 


Without dishonor. President Buchanan was thanked for his 
prompt aid. The following resolutions containing a decided 
threat were also passed : 

"That the union of the States can only be perpetuated so 
long as it continues to be a union of equals. 

"We are devoted to it and would behold its dissolution with 
profound regret ; yet, if we cannot hold our slave property, and 
at the same time enjoy repose and tranquility in the Union, 
we will be constrained, in justice to ourselves and to our pos- 
terity, to establish new forms and to establish new guards for 
our security and well being; relying for success in so doing 
in the righteousness of our cause and on the support of that 
Providence who so signally guided and secured our ancestors 
in times of danger. 

"That, while declaring our sincere d'evotion to the Union 
according to the Constitution as it was established by our fore- 
fathers, and while we are ready to uphold and maintain it as 
a Union of equals, we are not unmindful of the fact that the 
disturbers of our peace have received and are receiving the 
active sympathy and the substantial support of large portions 
of the people of the non-slaveholding States; and that it be- 
hooves the people of the non-slaveholding States, if they would 
restore domestic tranquility and perpetuate the Union, to rouse 
themselves from the condition of indifference and lethargy 
which seems to prevail among them, and to take such action 
and adopt such measures as may be necessary to prevent a con- 
tinuance of assaults upon the people of the South, and may 
assure our people that they are still faithful as Confederate 
States to the common Union which still unites us." 

The governor was advised to encourage the organization of 
volunteer military companies and to apply to the President for 
arms, to take measures to prevent the distribution through 
the mails of incendiary matter from the North, and to require 
justices of the peace to subject canvassers from the North to a 
severe scrutiny and to require bond for good behavior when it 
was thought necessary.^' 

18 Council of State Records, 1859; Standard, Dec. 10, 1859. 


The press of the State was equally outspoken reg^irding the 
possible and even probable consequences of the attack upon a 
Southern State, which was considered an attack upon the 
entire South. Even the Register, the intensely conservative 
organ of the Whig party, began to advocate the industrial inde- 
pendence of the South with a view to possible political inde- 
pendence.^* As usual, the Standard was the most extreme. It 
said, "After Seward's Rochester speech, after the Harper's 
Ferry outrage and after Helper's book, endorsed as it is by the 
leaders of Black Republicanism, the people of the South will 
not submit to Black Republican rule. They will sunder the 
bonds in i860, in 1864, ^^ 1868, or in 1872, before they will 
do it. We mean precisely what we say, and ninety-nine hun- 
dredths of those who may read this article agree with us." ^^ 

Meetings were held at various places in the State and reso- 
lutions passed, all breathing the same spirit of defiance to the 
North. One of these meetings, held in Chatham county, sent 
a committee to request Governor Ellis to call a special session 
of the legislature to place the State in an attitude of full mili- 
tary defence. Governor Ellis declined, however, with the state- 
ment that there was no necessity for any such action.^ ^ Re- 
quests for arms for new military organizations kept pouring in 
and Governor Ellis applied twice to the Secretary of War to 
furnish them. Secretary Floyd responded that North Carolina 
already had her quota and, if the ten thousand rifles desired 
were furnished, it would be an advance of six years, and this 
he declined to make.^*^ 

All the winter following, the State was kept in a condition 
of excitement and unrest by numerous arrests and trials of per- 
sons for peddling abolition tracts and books, and for preaching 
abolitionist sentiments to the negroes. Several were tarred 
and feathered instead of being delivered into the hands 
of the law. The most noted trial of an abolitionist was that 

14 Nov. 30, and Dec. 21, 1869. is Standard, Jan. 18, 1860. 

15 Dec. 14, i859. 1 7 Register, Jan. 11, 1860. 


of the Rev. Daniel Worth, in Guilford county. He was a 
native of North Carolina, of Quaker origin, who had lived 
for many years in Indiana and had become a monomaniac on 
the subject of slavery. He was sentenced to be whipped, and 
appealed to the Supreme Court. While his appeal was pend- 
ing he escaped to New York and did not return.^' 

In one year secession sentiment had grown more than in all 
the preceding ones, and a secession party, small but active, 
had come into existence. 

2. The Campaign of i860. 

The State Democratic convention met in Raleigh in March 
and unanimously re-nominated Governor Ellis. The platform 
protested against the alteration of any national compromise and 
announced that interference with the constitutional rights of 
the States would not be tolerated. But, on the whole, the senti- 
ment of the delegates, as expressed in the platform and in the 
speeches in the convention, was conservative and entirely favor- 
able to the Union.^® 

The opposition party had already nominated John Pool on a 
platform demanding the ad valorem taxation of slave prop- 
erty. He was hardly the candidate that would have been ex- 
pected, as he had voted against ad valorem taxation in the pre- 
ceding legislature ; but his personal position was no more sur- 
prising than that of his supporters, for a party made up of old 
Whigs would hardly have been expected to advocate ad valorem 
taxation. The platform laid the blame for all the national 
troubles on the Democracy, and, with more than usual vigor, 
declared its doctrines dangerous and its success a menace to 
the welfare of the nation.^® 

18 Worth Letters (unpublished). When asked why w» a minister he 
did not obey the law, he said, "I have no respect for North Carolina 
laws, for they are enacted by adulterers, drunkards, and gamblers." — 
Standard, Dec. 21, 1869. 

19 Standard, March 14, 1860. 20 Register, Feb. 30, 1860. 


A vigorous campaign opened at once conducted largely, at 
first, on internal matters. In the discussion of these the ad- 
vantage was clearly with Mr. Pool, but national questions soon 
interfered in behalf of Governor Ellis. 

When the Demjocratic National Convention met in Charles- 
ton, nineteen delegates were present from North Carolina. 
Prominent among these were W. W. Avery, who was chair- 
man of the committee on resolutions, W. W. Holden, W. S. 
Ashe and Bedford Brown. The details of the convention are 
familiar. When the minority report of the committee on reso- 
lutions was substituted for that of the majority, W. S. Ashe 
addressed the convention, saying, that if the platform was 
forced upon the South he would be forced to withdraw. Bed- 
ford Brown also spoke, warning the convention that if the 
second resolution was adopted, the fate of the Democratic 
party was sealed.^^ But when the withdrawal of the Southern 
delegates took place, those from North Carolina refused to go. 
It is not doubtful that, if they had wavered, the delegations 
from Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland and Kentucky would have 
also withdrawn.^* 

When the balloting began for the presidential nomination. 
North Carolina voted as a unit thirteen times for R. M. T. 
Hunter, twelve times for Lane and six times for D. S. Dick- 
inson. Then, until the balloting ceased, her vote was cast for 
Lane and Douglas, the latter receiving one vote.^* The press 
of the State and the people in general approved the action of 
the delegates. In only one instance were they criticised for not 
withdrawing with the other Southern delegates.^* 

Mr. Holden returned from Charleston with a changed view 
of secession. What policy he would pursue, however, seemed 

21 Charleston Mercury, quoted in Standard, May 9, 1860. 

22 Standard, May 16, 1860. 

23 Ibid., May 9, 1860. R. P. Dick voted for Douglas. 

24 The Charlotte Bulletin claimed that they should have gone with 
the Cotton States. 


doubtful. Still bitter against the Republicans, he announced 
in the first issue of his paper, after his return, that he was 
"for the Constitution and the Union, and against all who would 
trample on the one or dissolve the other." ^^ But a month 
later, he again declared that secession should follow the election 
of a Republican President.^* 

When the Baltimore convention met all the delegation from 
North Carolina withdrew except R. P. Dick, W. W. Holden 
and J. W. B. Watson. The two last-named refused to vote, 
but Mr. Dick voted for Douglas. For some time Mr. Holden 
was doubtful as to whom he would support, but finally an- 
nounced that he would favor the Breckenridge ticket, with the 
understanding that the electors would vote for Douglas, if by 
doing so they could defeat Lincoln. R. P. Dick, however, 
called a meeting of those favoring Douglas, and a full electoral 
ticket was chosen. Mr. Douglas was present and addressed 
the meeting. But the Douglas ticket played no part in the 
campaign and received less than three thousand votes. The 
contest was between Breckenridge and Bell and resulted in a 

25 May 9, 1860. 

2«The editorial is in part as foUawB: "But it is said that the Su- 
preme Court may be in the future an unsafe tribunal for the South; 
that the Black Republicans will obtain control of it and turn its de- 
cisions against the slaveholding States. That may be so. At present 
it is certainly a safe tribunal for the South. It may be changed and 
no doubt will be, if the Black Republicans should obtain possession of 
the government. But what of that? Must we wait until this change 
is made? Shall we permit Lincoln to pervert the whole power of the 
Government, and in addition to turn the Supreme Court against us? 
We are for meeting the enemy at the threshold — ^for vanquishing him 
or being vanquished long before his law, his adjudications against us 
are made. If the people of the South are true to themselves they will 
never be troubled by the decisions of Black Republican judges. But if 
they submic to the inauguration and rule of Black Republicans, they 
will bind themselves to submit to the decisions of an abolition court . " — 
Standard, June 2, 1860. 


victory for the former in spite of the vigorous campaign made 
by the Whigs. The Democratic State ticket was elected by a 
majority of over six thousand votes.^^ In the General Assembly 
the Democrats had a working majority in both houses. 

3. The Secession Movement. 

The result of the election had scarcely been announced when 
the question of secession became the leading topic of the time. 
The election of Lincoln was not regarded in North Carolina as 
a sufficient cause of withdrawal from the Union, but the action 
of the other Southern States forced a consideration of the mat- 
ter. During the campaign little had been said on the subject. 
No public speaker had advocated secession and many had de- 
nied the existence of the right.^® But the secession party was 
only quiet for a time. A large secession meeting in Wilming- 
ton on November iQth inausfurated a campaign conducted by 
means of similar meetinp-s.^® By the first of January secession 
meetings had been held in more than thirty counties, and this 
number was more than doubled by the following April. In 
opposition to these. Union meetings were held in fewer coun- 
ties, it is true, but in 9*reater number.*® 

The battle commenced when the General Assembly met. All 
the members seemed conscious of the gravity of the situation 
and the importance of the work ahead of them.*^ The element 
favorable to secession were well organized, and this fact later 
prevented some of the Union men from voting with them on 
the question of a convention. The body, as a whole, was able 
and conservative, but still there was a tendency on the part 

27 The total vote capt was 112,586. 

28 Letter from Gov. Ellis to Gov. Gist, Oct. 19, 1860. 

29 Wilminsrton Journal, Nov. 20, 1860. 

80 An example of intense Union sentiment was in Rowan County, 
where nine larj^e Union meetings were held during December and 
January . 

81 Memoir of A. S. Merrimon, p. 61. 


of some of the Union me i to be factious, and some of the 
secessionists were illiberal 

The governor's messag* was a clear statement of the con- 
ditions which the legislature had to face. He suggested an 
invitation to the Southern States to hold a conference through 
delegates, the calling of a convention of the people, and a 
thorough re-organization of the militia. It was evident from 
the tone of the message that Governor Ellis himself had little 
hope of a peaceful settlement of the sectional differences. 

A joint committee on Federal Relations was appointed and 
reported early in December, recommending that a convention 
limited in power should be called. A minority report dis- 
sented both in regard to the possibility of a limited convention 
and the necessity for calling one at that time. Bills providing 
for calling a convention had already been introduced, but the 
bill reported by the committee was substituted for them. The 
debate which now followed was long and heated. Discussion 
was not confined to the legislature. The question was argued 
all over the State, and the press entered ihto the discussion 
in even a more vigorous way than the legislature. At this 
time its sentiment was overwhelmingly for the Union.^^ The 
course of events, however, was having an effect upon it as well 
as upon the people and the legislature. When a convention 
was first proposed it seemed very doubtful if one could be 
called. But, as time passed, the idea grew in favor. Many 
of the strongest advocates of the Union commenced to favor 
it, trusting that the Union sentiment in the State would keep 
the secessionists from obtaining control of it.^* The secession 
element was increased by the influence of the secession of the 
various Cotton States and the appearance in Raleigh of repre- 

32 At this time only the Charlotte Bulletin, Groldsboro Rough Notes, 
Wilmington Journal, and the Raleigh State Journal favored secession. 

33 A letter from Z. B. Vance, dated Jan. 9, 1861, shows this feeling. 
He felt that better terms could be obtained if the State were in con- 



sentatives from several of them. Jacob Thompson, of Missis- 
sippi, and I. W. Garrott and R. H. Smith, of Alabama, were 
received by the legislature as commissioners from their States. 
All were natives of North Carolina. The members of Congress 
from the State also took part in the discussion. The address 
of the Southern members of Congress was signed by Ruffin and 
Craige. The two Senators and four of the representatives 
wrote requesting the legislature to call a convention, and it 
was known that two others favored it.^* 

Another thing added to the excitement and uneasiness of the 
people. There were at this time four United States army 
posts in the State — the Fayetteville Arsenal and Forts Johnston, 
Caswell and Macon. At the request of the mayor and citizens 
of Fayetteville, who feared an insurrection, and against the 
advice of the officer in command, troops had been sent there 
early in November.^'^ At each of the other posts an ordnance 
sergeant was in charge. Early in January a committee from 
Wilmington visited Governor Ellis and begged him to seize 
Forts Johnston and Caswell. He refused to entertain the prop- 
osition, and on the morning of the loth Fort Johnston was 
captured by citizens of Wilmington, organized as a Committee 
of Safety under the name of "Cape Fear Minute Men" and 
under the command of John J. Hedrick. That afternoon, ac- 
companied by S. D. Thruston, captain of the "Smithville 
Guards," and a number of citizens of Smithville, they captured 
Fort Caswell. This latter was a most important fort, as it 
commanded the mouth of the Cape Fear river. The next day, 
Governor Ellis, hearing unofficially of the seizure, telegraphed 
Warren Winslow in Washington to ascertain if the adminis- 
tration intended to garrison the forts in North Carolina.^® He 
also sent orders to Thruston to evacuate the forts at once. 
The order was complied with and the two forts were restored 

34 Senators Bragg and Clingman, Representatives Branch, Craige, 
Winslow, and Rufl&n. Vance and Smith were known to favor it. 
85 Off. Rec. No. 1, pp. 480-4. 
3« North Carolina Regimental History, Vol. I, p. 26. 


to the officers in charge. Governor Ellis was of the opinion . 
that the seizure had been made by the militia under orders. 
Later information showed the error of this. He at once re- 
ported the matter to the President and asked if the forts were 
to be garrisoned. Secretary Holt replied thanking him for his 
prompt action, and declaring that there was, at that time, no in- 
tention of placing garrisons in the forts as they were con- 
sidered entirely safe in "law-abiding" North Carolina; but 
that, if a disposition was shown to attack them, they would be 

These events all had their effect, and January 30th both 
houses of the General Assembly agreed upon a bill providing 
for submitting to the people the question of a convention, lim- 
ited in its powers to Federal relations, and for the election of 
delegates at the same time. If called, no action of the conven- 
tion was to become valid until ratified by the people. The bill 
was most strongly supported by W. W. Avery and V. C. Bar- 
ringer in the Senate, and Samuel Person in the House, while 
the opposition was led by Bedford Brown and R. S. Donnell 
in the Senate and House, respectively. In the Senate, Jona- 
than Worth, Alfred Dockery, Josiah Turner, L. Q. Sharpe 
and Daivid Outlaw contested every step made by the secession- 
ists and gave them infinite trouble. But the movement was 
gaining a headway which rendered ineffectual all opposition.^® 
The legislature, after passing the convention bill, went fur- 
ther. An appropriation of $300,000 was made to purchase 
arms, and a military commission was chosen to advise the gov- 

37 Off. Rec., No. 1, pp. 484-5. 

38 Gov. Ellis, in a private letter to I. W. Garrott, of Alabama, said 
that North Carolina would much sooner join an organized government 
than secede without one being already formed, but that the State could 
take no part in its organization. "But," said he, "rely upon it, the 
Southern Rights men in North Carolina will never desert you. We 
have submissionists here; but the great heart of the people is right. 
You may count on us, for we will be with you soon." 


ernor on the subject.^* A new militia law was passed, making 
all white males between eighteen and forty-five years of age 
liable to service. A volunteer corps of ten thousand men was 
provided for, and the governor was authorized to enroll twenty 
thousand more to serve, in case of invasion, at the pleasure of 
the commander-in-chief.*® Commissioners were elected to rep- 
resent the State near the Confederate Government and at the 
Peace Conference in Washington. On the former commission 
were ex-tiovemor David L. Swain, the president of the State 
University, M. W. Ransom and John L. Bridgers, while ex- 
Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin, ex-Governor David S. Reid, ex- 
Governor John M. Morehead, D. M. Barringer and George 
Davis composed the latter. In both Union men were in the 

The commissioners to Montgomery attended the sessions of 
the Confederate Congress, but declined to take any part in 
their deliberations. The delegation to Washington, soon after 
the Peace Conference met, came to the conclusion that there 
was no hope of peace. Barringer, Reid and Davis voted 
against the Franklin proposition with the exception of the 
third and fourth sections. RuflSn and Morehead, while not 
satisfied, were unwilling to reject anything that might prevent 
the war on honorable terms, and voted for the entire proposi- 
tion. This recommended a number of amendments to the 
Constitution, the substance of which was as follows: By 
the first, slavery was to be prohibited in the territories 
north of latitude 36 degrees 30 minutes. South of that 
line the institution was to remain as it was at the time, 
and no law could be passed abridging the right of a 
citizen to take a slave thither. The status of new States 
was to be determined by their constitutions. The second 

39 D. H. Hill and C. C. Tew, the superintendents of the two mili- 
tary schools in the State, were appointed commissioners. Laws, 1860-1,. 
chap. 27. 

40 Laws, 1860-1, chap. 24. 


provided that no further acquisition of territory should be 
made without the consent of a majority of the Senators from 
both the free States and the slave States. The third declared 
that no amendment to the Constitution should be made inter- 
fering with slavery in the States, nor should Congress pro- 
hibit it in the District of Columbia, nor interfere with the do- 
mestic slave trade between slave States, nor tax slaves at a 
higher rate than land. The slave trade in the District of Co- 
lumbia was abolished, but Congress was prohibited from as- 
suming any power to prevent slaves from being taken into the 
District and then brought away. The fourth provided that the 
Constitution should not be so construed as to prevent any of 
the States from aiding in the arrest and delivery of fugitive 
slaves. The fifth prohibited forever the foreign slave trade. 
The sixth provided that the amendments to the Constitution 
so proposed should not be abolished' or changed without the 
consent of all the States. Finally the seventh provided for pay- 
ment by the United States for all slaves released by violence 
from Federal officials, or whose re-capture should be prevented 
by violence. All these amendments were included in one pro- 
posed article. It was adopted with nothing like unanimity 
among the delegates to the conference and was doomed to fail- 
ure before it ever reached Congress. 

Up to the meeting of the Peace Conference there had been 
great hopes in the State that by it all the vexing questions be- 
tween the sections would be settled and peace restored.*^ But 
the hope was all in vain.*^ On their return to North Carolina 
the commissioners announced that all hope of peace was gone. 
Judge Ruffin, who had gone to the conference as a violent 

*i Report of S. Hall to Georgia Convention. Journal, p. 330. Mr. 
Hall said that the great obstacle "to the immediate co-operation of 
North Carolina with the Confederate States is the belief entertained 
by a large number of citizens that the Peace Conference will compose 
the dissensions between the sections." 

*2 The voting in the conference was by States and consequently the 
vote of the majority of any delegation prevailed for the vote of its 


Union man, made a speech in Hillsboro consisting of only 
three words, "Fight! Fight! Fight!" Nothing illustrates 
more clearly the change of sentitnent which was taking place. 
The same thing is noticeable" in the newspapers. With the 
exception of the Standard, all began to advise military prep- 
arations. This was defended by all of them as a necessity. 
One of them said, "The extremists of both sides have left 
nothing for us but secession." *^ And gradually most of them 
began to advocate what they had so persistently fought. 

The vote on the question of a convention and the election of 
delegates were held February 28th. The issue of the campaign 
had been made "Union or Disunion," and notwithstanding the 
fact that many of the leaders of the Union party desired a 
convention as the best means of settlement, and that the act 
providing for it had only been passed through their support, 
the call was defeated. The people still hoped for peace and 
were afraid of a convention. The majority against it was 
small— 651 votes out of a total of 93,995 — ^but a majority of 
the delegates chosen were Union men. Representatives of three 
views as to the course to be pursued were found among the dele- 
gates. There were 52 "submissipnists," as the secessionists 
called them, 22 "conditional submissionists" and 46 "Southern 
Rights" men. 

.The strongest advocate of the Union could not think that 
this was a final decision of the question. It was only a 
gain in time, a success for those advocating a "Watch and 
Wait" policy,** and it gave them only a momentary advantage. 
The secession party had the advantage of being coherent, in 
marked contrast to their opponents, and were more enthusi- 
astic in their cause. In the East, beginning in Wilmington, a 
strong and united moverrient now commenced. "States Rights" 
meetings were held in various places and delegates chosen to a 
State meeting to be held in Goldsboro in March. This move- 
rs New Bern Progress, Jan. 18, 1861. 
44 This was the watchword of the Standard. 


ment spread to other parts of the State, and- whoi the meeting 
was held on the 22nd about a thousand persons were present, 
representing twenty-five counties. Weldon N. Edwards, of 
Warren, was called to the chair. Formal organization of a 
party resulted and plans were made for a campaign extending 
all over the State. Franklin J. Moses, of South Carolina, who 
had been appointed by his State as a commissioner to the de- 
feated convention, was present and addressed the meeting. 
Edmund RuflSn, of Virginia, came over from Charleston to 
attend, and made a vigorous secession speech. Determination 
and energy marked the whole meeting. After providing for 
another meeting in Charlotte on May 20th, they adjourned, 
confident of success.*'* Later events rendered the adjourned 
meeting unnecessary and the call was withdrawn. A vigorous 
campaign was carried on for the next three weeks, and ap- 
parently with results. 

Then the agony of doubt ended. Sumter fell and the Presi- 
dent's call for troops followed. Governor Ellis was notified 
by the Secretary of War that a call had been made on him for 
two regiments for immediate service. The Governor at once 
replied : 

"Raleigh, April 15. 
**To the Secretary of War: 

"Your dispatch is received, and if genuine (which its extra- 
ordinary character leads me to doubt,) I have to say in reply 
that I regard a levy of troops for the purpose of subjugating 
the States of the South, as in violation of the Constitution and 
a usurpation of power. 

"I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the 
country, and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. 
You can get no troops from North Carolina. 

"John W. Ellis, 
Governor of North Carolina. *• 

Two days later he summoned the legislature to meet in 
extra session. Immediately upon the call for troops he had 

*5 Wilmington Journal, March 27, 1861. 
*« Executive Letters, Ellis, p. 394. 


ordered the seizure of the forts. Fort Macon had already been 
taken without orders. Those on the Cape Fear were captured 
by the Wilmington Light Infantry,*"^ and the Fayetteville Arse- 
nal was occupied, without resistance being made, by Warren 
Winslow with a force of militia.^^ 

L. P. Walker, the Confederate Secretary of War, at once 
asked Governor Ellis to send a regiment to Virginia and this 
was promised within a few days.*^ The governor at once called 
for 30,000 volunteers, and a camp of instruction was established 
at Raleigh.'^® These acts placed North Carolina in the same 
category with the other Southern States, and consequently 
President Lincoln on April 27th declared her ports blockaded.^^ 

The Union newspapers had now given up the fight, the 
Register saying, "It is the part of prudence and of common 
sense to look at things as they are and not as we would wish 
them to be. We believe that Abraham Lincoln is about to wage 
war of coercion against these States. We believe that in this 
war the remaining slaveholding States will be involved, and 
we shall be found on the side of the section in which we were 
born and bred and in which live our kindred, connections and 
friends. If this makes us secessionists, then let us be so 
called." ^^ The Standard, also, acknowledged the necessity for 
war but was very lukewarm at first. Later, it became exceed- 
ingly warlike in tone.^^ 

47 Off. Rec., No. 1, pp. 476-8. 

48 Ibid., p. 479. 

49 Ibid., pp. 486-7. 

50 Governor's message, Extra session of 1861 . 

51 McPherson, History of the Rebellion, p. 149. 

52 April 17, 1861. 

^53 Until the call for troops, the position of the newspapers of the 
otate on the question of secession was a® follows: For secession, Ra- 
leigh State Journal, Wilmington Journal, Fayetteville Carolinian, Mur- 
freesboro Citizen, Elizabcoh City Pioneer, Asheville News, Salisbury 
Banner, Charlotte Bulletin, Charlotte Democrat, Groldsboro Tribune, 
Goldsboro Rough Notes, Shelby Eagle, Warrenton News, Washington 


The Council of State met April 23rd and passed resolutions 
approving the action of Governor Ellis in taking possession of 
the forts, and ratifying, by their approval, his reply to Secre- 
tary Cameron. They requested him to call out troops not to 
exceed 5,000 to drill and be prepared for public defence in any 

The General Assembly met May ist. The governor's mes- 
sage gave an account of his actions and advised the calling of 
a convention with full powers, as the people were known to 
have but one opinion as to the course to be pursued. Within 
less than two hours the House passed, unanimously, a bill call- 
ing an unlimited convention.^^ In the Senate, the House bill 
was immediately passed. Jonathan Worth, L. Q. Sharpe and 
Josiah Turner voted nay. They based their opposition on the 
short time given for a canvass, and the fact that the action of 
the convention would not be submitted to the people.^® The 
same day Governor Ellis issued a proclamation, calling an 
election for delegates to be held May 17th, and calling the con- 
vention to meet May 20th. 

Before the convention bill was passed the governor was au- 
thorized to send troops to Virginia, without limit as to number. 
The legislature then turned its attention to war preparations. 

Times, Tarboro Mercury, Winston Western Sentinel, Wilson Ledger, 
Tarboro Southerner, and Hillsboro Plaindealer, all Democratic; the 
Wilmington Herald, Albemarle Southron, Charlotte Whig, Milton Chron- 
icle, Western Carolinian, all Whig and the New Bern Progress, Concord 
Flag, Raleigh Leisure Hour, all independent. Against secession, the Ra- 
leigh Standard and Raleigh Banner, Democratic, and the following 
Vvhig papers: Raleigh Register, Fayetteville Observer, Salisbury Watch- 
man, Greensboro Patriot, Iredell Express, Washington Dispatch, Kins- 
ton Advocate, Hendersonville Times, Salem Press, Ashe Spectator, 
Wadesboro Argus, and the Hillsboro Recorder. After the call for 
troops all were for war. 

64 Records of the Council of State, p. 81. 

55 p. T. Henry voted affirmatively with a protest. 

56 State Journal, May 8, 1861. 


Franklin J. Moses was again present and was given the freedom 
of the floor.*^^ A vote of thanks to Governor Ellis for his 
promptness in preparing for war was passed, receiving only 
two negative votes.^® Acts were passed making it unlawful 
to administer the oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States, providing for the manufacture of arms at the Fayette- 
ville Arsenal and appropriating $200,000 for the purpose, au- 
thorizing the governor to appoint a commissioner near the gov- 
ernment of the Confederate States,'^ authorizing the governor 
to enroll 10,000 State troops, declaring North Carolina free 
frorn liability for the Federal debt incurred after March 4, 
1 86 1, authorizing the governor to accept 20,000 twelve months' 
volunteers and to arm and equip them and to offer a bounty of 
$10 to each, authorizing the governor to commission with equal 
rank, officers of the army and navy of the United States, who 
resigned to enter the service of the State, appropriating $5,- 
000,000 for public defence, defining and providing for the pun- 
ishment of treason against the State, and providing for a stay 
in the execution of judgments in civil suits.^^ 

Before the legislature met, it had been suggested that it 
should pass a declaration of secession and submit it to the peo- 
ple as a constitutional amendment. This, however, was very 
generally opposed.®^ But in the Senate Mr. Turner introduced 
a declaration of independence from the United States. It was, 
of course, an effort to bring the proceedings of the majority 
into ridicule, and was not considered. 

The campaign for the convention was void of any \ particular 
interest. The issue was no longer "Union or Disunion," nor a 
discussion as to the right and propriety of secession, but simply 

57 Journal of the General Assembly, May 1, 1861. 

58 Josiah Turner and Alfred Dockery in the Senate voted against this 
resolution . 

59 Thomas L. Clingman was appointed commissioner and visited the 
CJonfederate Congress. 

60 These acts are to be found in the Laws, First Extra Session, 1861. 
«i Western Democrat, April 30, 1861 . 


should North Carolina go with the North or with the South.'* 
On this the result was assured, and not a person in the State 
advocated anything but separation. The cause of the South 
was regarded as the cause of North Carolina.®^ Quite a num- 
ber of the old Union men declined to be candidates, not caring 
to take part in the act of separation, but they advocated a vig- 
orous preparation for war, and war itself, if 'the existing con- 
ditions should continue. 

4. Secession and War. 

The convention assembled in Raleigh May 20th, a day mem- 
orable in North Carolina as the anniversary of the Mecklen- 
burg Declaration of Independence. The delegates now, regard- 
less of their opinion on the right of secession, were resolved on 
separation. The only issue was how it should take place. 

The body, as assembled, was probably the ablest and most 
distinguished in the history of the State. The reason for this 
is simple. The gravity of the situation made the people forget 
party and elect their most trusted men regardless of differences 
iYi political opinion, and so the best men of both parties were 
chosen. In many counties a delegate was chosen from each 
party. The lights of the old Whig party, obscured by uninter- 
rupted Democratic success, again appeared in political position. 
In fact, the Whigs were in the majority in the convention. 
And of the Democrats, the majority had been opposed to seces- 
sion before the call for troops. 

Probably the most influential of the leaders in the convention 
were George E. Badger, Thomas Ruffin, William A. Graham 
and Weldon Edwards. Among the other prominent men were 
Asa Biggs, David S. Reid, William Johnston, Warren Winslow, 
Bedford Brown, W. W. Holden, Kenneth Rayner, R. P. Dick, 

«2 Western Democrat, April 22, 1861. 

63 This feeling is particularly noticeable in the speeches and letters of 
men of the type of W. A. Graham, George E. Badger and Jonathan 


Burton Craige, George Howard and John A. Gilmer.®* Five 
members of the convention had also been delegates in 1835.®' 
The convention organized by the election of president. Wel- 
don Edwards and William A. Graham were placed in nomina- 
tion. The election was, in a sense, a test of the strength of the 
two elements composing the convention, which may be called 
for convenience the secessionists and the revolutionists. The 

«* An idea of the prominence of the group above named can be gained 
from the positions they had filled. Mr. Badger had been a member of 
the House of Commons, Superior Court Judge, United States Senator, 
and Secretary of the Navy. He wa» nominated for the U. S. Supreme 
Court, but failed of confirmation. Thomas Ruffin had been member 
and speaker of the Commons, Superior Court Judge, president of the 
State Bank, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and a member of the 
Peace Conference. W. A. Graham had been member and Speaker of 
I lie Commons, State Senator, U. S. Senator, Governor, and Secretary 
of the Navy. He was the Whig candidate for Vice-President in 1856. 
Weldon Edwards had been a member of Congress, State Senator, and 
for many terms Speaker, a member of the Convention of 1835. Asa 
Biggs had been a member of the Commons and Senate, a member of the 
Convention of 1835, member of Congress, U.S. Senator, and U. S. Dis- 
trict Judge. David S. Reid had been State Senator, member of Con- 
gresis. Governor, and U. S. Senator. William Johnston was promi- 
nent as a railroad president and business man. He received every vote 
in Mecklenburg County as a delegate. Warren Winslow had been 
!bT>eaker of the Senate, Governor ex officio, and a member of Congress. 
Bedford Brown had been a member of the Commons, Speaker of the 
Senate, and U. S. Senator. W. W. Holden had been a member of the 
Commons. Kenneth Rayner had been a member of the Convention of 
1835, member of the Commons and Senate, and member of Congress. 
R. P. Dick had been U. S. District Attorney. Burton Craige had 
been a member of the Commons and of Congress. George Howard had 
l,een prominent as an editor and was a Superior Court Judge. John 
A. Gilmer had been State Senator and member of Congress. He was 
the Whig candidate for Governor in 1854, but was defeated. He de- 
clined the Treasury portfolio in President Lincoln's Cabinet. 

65 Besides those mentioned in the note immediately preceding, E. T. 
Brodnax and W. F. Leak. 


former won, and Mr. Edwards was elected by a vote of 65 to 
his opponent's 48. As soon as he had taken the chair Mr. 
Badger presented a paper for consideration. It was not read 
at the time but postponed until complete organization should be 
effected. After this had been completed the president read a 
communication from F. J. Moses, commissioner from South 
Carolina, to present her ordinance and to invite the co-operation 
of North Carolina. He was received by the convention and 
made a most patronizing speech, welcoming the prospects which 
he saw for North Carolina's joining in the cause of the South.*® 

Mr. Badger's paper was then read to the convention. It 
was an elaborate review of the condition of the country and 
the causes which made separation necessary, and it provided 
for separation by means of revolution, without any mention 
of secession in the applied meaning of the word. 

Mr. Craige then offered as a substitute an ordinance which 
had been prepared by Judah P. Benjamin and which he intro- 
duced at the request of Governor Ellis.®^ It was as follows: 

66 State Journal, May 22, 1861. 

66a The following is a summary of the Badger ordinance: The pream- 
ble assertsi — 

1. That Lincoln and Hamlin were chosen by a sectional party, hos- 
tile to Southern institutions. 

2. That North Carolina, though aggrieved thereby, declined to join 
the States first seceding, but being ardently attached to the Union, re- 
mained therein, hoping that what was threatening might be removed 
and guarantees for the security of her rights be given, in the mean- 
time exerting her influence for the accomplishment of these ends. 

3. While indulging this hope President Lincoln called on the States 
for troops to invade the seceding States, in order to subject them to 
military authority; that there was no act of Congress authorizing such 
call, and that such act, if passed, would be unconstitutional. 

4. The call was answered with enthusiasm throughout the non-slave- 
holding States. 

5. It is evident from the tone of the press of those States and the 
avowal of their public men, that their "government and people intend 
to wage a cruel war against the seceded ' States, to destroy utterly the 
fairest portion of their continent, and to reduce its inhabitants to abso- 
lute subjection and abject slavery." 


"An ordinance dissolving the union between the State of 
North Carolina and the other States united with her under the 
compact of government entitled 'The Constitution of the United 

''We, the people of the State of North Carolina, in conven- 
tion assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared 
and ordained, that the ordinance adopted by the State of North 
Carolina in the convention of 1789, whereby the Constitution of 
the United States was ratified and adopted, and also all acts 
and parts of acts of the General Assembly, ratifying and adopt- 
ing amendments to the said Constitution, are hereby repealed, 
rescinded, and abrogated. 

We do further declare and ordain that the union now sub- 

6. President Lincoln, without shadow of rightful authority, has de- 
clared the ports of North Carolina as well as all the other Atlantic and 
Gulf States, under blockade, thus seeking to cut oflf her trade with all 
parts of the world. 

7. The whole conduct and words of said Lincoln have been false, 
disingenuous and treacherous. 

8. Inat he is governing by military rule alone, increasing army and 
navy without authority, and setting aside constitutional and legal re- 

9. His "unconstitutional, illegal and oppressive acts," his "wicked 
and diabolical purposes," and his "position of usurper and military dic- 
tator" were sustained by the non-slaveholding States. 

Therefore this convention, in the name and with the sovereign power 
of the people of North Carolina declare — 

1st. All connection of government between this State and the United 
States, dissolved and abrogated, and this State to be a free, sovereign, 
and independent State, owing no subordination, obedience, support or 
other duty to them, their constitution, or authorities. 

2nd. That "this State has full power to levy war, conclude peace, 
contract alliances, and do all other act® and things which independent 
States may of right do." 

3rd. "Appealing to the Supreme Governor of the world for the jus- 
tice of our cause, and beseeching Him for His gracious help and bless- 
ing, we will to the uttermost of our power, and to the last extremity, 
maintain, defend, and uphold this declaration." 

This summary is taken from Dr. K. P. Battle's monograph, Legisla- 
tion of the Convention of 1861. 


sisting between the State of North Carolina and the other 
States, under the title of *The United States of America/ is 
hereby dissolved, and that the State of North Carolina is in full 
possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which 
belong and appertain to a free and independent State." ®® 

An attempt to have the convention sit with closed doors 
failed. Judge Ruffin then introduced a resolution declaring 
it the sentiment of the convention that the State should sever its 
connection with the United States and join the Confederacy, 
and referred the whole question of the means which should 
be employed to a committee which should be instructed to 
consider the matter and report a suitable ordinance. The min- 
ority in the convention, with possibly a very few exceptions, 
were as thoroughly convinced as the majority that separation 
was necessary, and under existing circumstances, desirable. 
But they were not prepared, except as a last resort, to give their 
assent to the doctrine of secession, the right of which had been 
utterly denied by many of them. They believed that the time 
had fully come for revolution, and their contention was that 
the convention ought to ignore any question of secession and 
pass an ordinance which would not be a constitutional, but 
simply a revolutionary act. But the majority of the convention 
were secessionists now, whatever their belief had been in the 
past, and they would not hear of the plan, nor would they sub- 
mit to any delay. Mr. Badger's ordinance was stricken out 
by a vote of J2 to 40. He at once left the hall and went home."'® 
Judge Ruffin, still hoping to alter the Craige ordinance, moved 
to amend it so that it would be a simple declaration of the dis- 

«7 The ordinance was brought to Raleigh from Montgomery by James 
Hines, a North Carolinian, and delivered to Gov. Ellis, who asked Mr. 
Craige, the member from his county, to introduce it. 

«8 Convention Journal, p. 13. 69 state Journal, May 22, 1861. 

70 A member of Mr. Badger's family relates that after his return 
home, he was seated at the dinner table when the ringing of the capi- 
tol bell announced secession. Mr. Badger raised his hand and said, 
"The death knell of slavery." 


solution of the union existing between North CaroHna and the 
other States. Mr. Rayner said that it made little difference to 
him personally what kind of ordinance was adopted, but that 
he thought something was due the secessionists and South 
Carolina. This was the opinion of the majority, for the reso- 
lution was defeated."'^ The Craige ordinance was then passed 
leceiving the vote of every delegate present, one hundred and 
fifteen in all. Mr. Graham as he voted, said that in so doing, 
he waived all further question of the right of secession. Judge 
Ruffin, for most of his life, probably the staunchest believer in 
and supporter of the Union in the convention, said that if a 
halter were about his neck he would still vote aye.^^ 

The announcement of the vote was received with great ap- 
plause on the floor and in the galleries, and the bell on the 
Capitol was the signal for a roar of salutes which followed from 
the military companies in the Capitol Square and all over Ral- 
eigh. When quiet was restored the convention, on motion of 
Mr. Leak, cheered South Carolina vigorously.*^^ 

An ordinance was then introduced ratifying the Constitu- 
tion of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States 
and signifying North Carolina's willingness to join the Con- 
federacy. An attempt to submit the ordinance to the people 
for ratification failed, and it passed unanimously. A resolution 
ratifying the permanent constitution of the Confederacy was 
referred to a committee and the convention adjourned for the 
day. Its action excited the wildest enthusiasm throughout the 
State. Secession had been an assured fact, but no one had 
dreamed of its receiving a unanimous vote."'* 

711 he vote on Judge RuflSn's resolution was 49 yeas to 66 nays. 

72 State Journal, May 22, 1861. 73 Ibid., May 22, 1861. 

74 Mr . iiolden said four years later that he only voted for the seces- 
sion ordinance because, if he had not he would have been hung in the 
Capitol Square by order of Gov. Ellis, or forced to leave the State. 
-t».part from anything else to the contrary, the fact that no demonstra- 
tion was made hostile or discourteous to Mr. Badger, proves the falsity 
of his belief. 


The following day, when Mr. Badger returned to the con- 
vention, he asked leave to have his name recorded as voting 
for the secession ordinance, saying, at the same time, that he 
objected to the wording of the ordinance, and utterly repudi- 
ated any belief in the right of secession.''^ That night, in the 
presence of a large and enthusiastic body of spectators, the 
enrolled ordinance of secession was signed by one hundred 
and twenty delegates, the full membership of the convention. 
The first act was completed, the reversal of which was only to 
be accomplished by four long years of war with its attendant 
bitterness, sorrow, privation and misery of every sort. But 
at the time no thought of this was present. There was sincere 
regret at separation from the Union which had been cherished 
to the last; but rejoicing at freedom from conditions which 
had long been irksome, and martial excitement were domi- 
nant, and casting regret behind all now turned their attention 
to preparation for the war. Regarding this there seems to 
have been little doubt in the public mind of the ultimate success 
of the South, but very few deceived themselves with the belief 
that the contest would be a campaign simply of one summer. 

Copies of the ordinance of secession and the ratifying ordi- 
nance were sent to President Davis by the convention, and on 
May 27th North Carolina was proclaimed a member of the 
Confederacy. June 6th an ordinance was passed, ratifying the 
permanent constitution of the Confederate States. This 
ordinance was not ratified until June 19th. The conven- 
tion was much criticised for its delay in ratification. 
Under the lead of W. A. Graham, assisted by R. P. 
Dick and Kenneth Rayner, a strong fight was made against 
immediate action. Mr. Graham preferred that the State 
should act in her sovereign capacity, and not join 
any Confederacy at that time. Judge Ruffin and Mr. Badger 
favored immediate ratification. The discussion at times became 

75 state Journal, May 29, 1861. 



somewhat heated, particularly between Mr. Graham and Mr. 
Badger. Party spirit too became apparent.^* An ordinance 
declaring the right of secession for cause was introduced and 
debated but never finally acted on.''^ In the meantime the con- 
vention had begun the transfer to the Confederacy of the forts 
and arsenals within the borders of the State. 

During the first session the convention passed in all thirty- 
five ordinances. These were of more or less importance, but 
it seems that the convention after the first day spent time in 
discussion far out of proportion to the amount of legislation 
accomplished. This was in part due to the large number of 
lawyers and political leaders in the body. Besidies the ordi- 
nances already mentioned its work included acts defining trea- 
son against the State,''® postponing the next session of the 
legislature from June 25th to August i5th,^® relieving volun- 
teers from the payment of poll tax,®® securing to the citizens 
of the State who were in the military service of the State or 
the Confederacy the right to vote,®^ and appropriating the sum 
of $3,200,000 to meet the demands on the treasury for the next 
two years.®^ 

The convention elected a full delegation to the Provisional 
Congress of the Confederacy. The "old Union men" held a 
caucus, presided over by W. A. Graham, and nominated can- 
didates,®^ but the independent vote decided the election and the 

76 Speaking of party spirit, Judge Rufl&n said, "Let us no longer talk 
of being secessionists now or Union men now, for we are all secession- 
ists from Northern tyranny and Union men for the Southern Confed- 
eracy . ** 

77 Journal, p , 74 . 

78 Ordinances, p. 7. 

78 Ibid., p. 7. This caused much dissatisfaction, as did a proposition 
to dissolve the General Assembly. 

80 Ibid., p. 35. 

81 Ibid., pp. 40-1. 

82 laid., pp. 42-6. 

83 Battle, Legislation of the Convention of 1861, p. 126. 


delegates were chosen from both of the old parties.** After 
this the convention adjourned on June 28th to meet the follow- 
ing November, unless sooner called by its president.®^ 

In the meantime the State was making every effort in prep- 
aration for the war. Volunteering was still going on with 
no sign of any decrease. It is not the purpose of this study 
to enter into military history. But a more accurate view of 
internal conditions can be obtained, if it be mentioned that by 
August, 1862, the State had furnished to the military service 
of the Confederacy 64,636 volunteers. By November, 1864, 
21,608 had been added to this number. Before the end of the 
war she furnished also, 21,343 conscripts, 9,893 reserves, 3,203 
State troops, 3,117 detailed men, and 3,100 serving in regiments 
from other States, making a total of over 126,000. Besides this 
several thousand Home Guards were in service. This was 
one-sixth of the Confederate army.*® Her military population 
was 115,369." North Carolina also furnished to the Union 
army 3,146 white and 5,035 colored soldiers. But of the latter 
1,781, enlisted in 1864, were credited to several Northern States 
to fill out their quota for the draft.** Of the higher officers in 
the military service of the Confederacy the State had two 

84 The delegates were as follows : For the State-at-large, George Davis 
and W. W. Avery. For the districts, W. N. H. Smith, Thomas Ruf- 
fin (of Wayne), Thomas D. McDowell, Abram Venable, John M. More- 
head, R. C. Puryear, Burton Craige, and A. T. Davidson. Avery, 
liuffin, Craige, Venable, and McDowell were Democrats and original 
secessionists. The rest of the delegates were Whigs. Davis had 
favored secession since the close of the Peace Conference. 

85 A committee, consisting of W. A. Graham, Thomas Ruffin, J. W. 
Osborne, and Asa Biggs, was empowered to summon it in the event of 
the death of the president. 

86 N. C. Regimental History, Vol. V, p. 1. 

87 Report of Committee N. C. lit. and Hist. Asso., 1904. 

88 Off. Rec, No. 126, pp. 116 et seq. 


lieutenant generals,®^ seven major generals/® and twenty-six 
brigadier generals.®^ 

Governor Ellis died in July in Virginia where he was trying 
to recuperate after the severe strain of the preceding months. 
He was succeeded by Henry T. Clark, Speaker of the Senate. 

The General Assembly met in August. It spent most of the 
session arguing against the assumption of power by the con- 
vention. An attempt was made to submit to the people the 
question as to whether the convention should meet again. This, 
naturally, was unsuccessful. The General Assembly finally ad- 
journed in September, after a session of more than a month. 

The early battles of the war produced intense enthusiasm, 
often out of proportion to their importance. The fight at 
Bethel, for example, was hailed as a great victory and caused 
more rejoicing than some of the later successes of infinitely 
greater importance. But hardships soon began. By the au- 
tumn of 1861 prices were rising and speculation in the neces- 
saries of life commencing. And at the same time appeared a 
bitter party spirit, which now, above all times, should have 
been absent. Party feeling, always intense in the State, had 
never been more so than in the period which now followed. 

89 T. H. Holmes and D. H. Hill. General HilPs nomination was 
never sent to the Senate for confirmation. 

90 W. H. C. Whiting (killed), Robert Ransom, Wm. D. Pender 
(killed), Robt. F. Hoke, S. D. Ramseur (killed), J. F. Gilmer, and 
Bryan Grimes. 

91 R. C. Gatlin, L. O'B. Branch (killed), J. J. Pettigrew (killed), 
Geo. B. Anderson (killed), J. G. Martin, T. L. dingman, Ja®. Daniel 
(killed), Jas. H. Lane, John R. Cooke, R. B. Vance, A. M. Scales, 
M. W. Ransom, L. S. Baker, W. W. Kirkland, R. D. Johnston, Jas. 
B. Gordon (killed), W. R. Cox (temporary), T. F. Toon (temporary), 
W. G. Lewis (temporary), Rufus Barringer, John D. Barry (tem- 
porary), A. C. Godwin (killed), Wm. McRae, C. Leventhorpe, Gabriel 
Rains, and W. P. Roberts. Generals Hill, Cooke, and Whiting were 
not natives of the State. Generals Bragg, Polk, Wilcox, ZoUicoffer, 
and McCullough were natives of North Carolina, but were appointed 
from other States. 


V. War Politics and the Peace Movement. 

Party spirit slept, or more properly, appeared to sleep, only 
a short time after May 20th.^^ Reference has already been 
made to the caucus held by the "Union men" during the first 
session of the convention. This was held at the residence of 
Mr. Holden, and the Standard was the recognized organ of 
the faction, which was soon to assume a party name. Mr. Hol- 
den's attacks upon Governor Ellis ceased for a short time after 
secession, but were soon renewed with increased bitterness. 
His paper from being very lukewarm towards the Confederacy 
had become, by this time, apparently, a strong supporter of it 
and was most violent against the North. But in the State 
administration it found no good. Governor Ellis' military ap- 
pointments were sharply criticised, and this led to a newspaper 
war that lasted to the close of actual hostilities, and in fact, 
during the whole period of Reconstruction, with one short 
truce. The hatreds aroused at this time materially influenced 
the history of the State for the next ten years. Bitterness, how- 
ever, was by no means confined to Mr. Holden or those who 
acted with him. He was hated by the Democrats, who felt 
that he had deserted them, and distrusted by as many Whigs 
for the same reason. 

The opposition to the war party was quiet at first but grew 
steadily. By a combination with the friends of William T. 
Dortch the opposition secured his election to the Confederate 
Senate. The reason assigned for defeating W. W. Avery, who 
had been delegate for the State at large to the Provisional 
Congress, was that the views of Dortch regarding seces- 
sion had been more moderate.^^ The first open division along ^ 
party lines was in the presidential election in November 1861. 
The Standard published an electoral ticket which failed to 

92 Jonathan Worth, in a letter to James B. Troy, May 21, 1861, said 
there was only a feigned alliance between the two parties. 
83 Standard, September 18, 1861 . 


meet with the approval of the State Journal, and the latter at 
once published an opposition ticket containing, however, five of 
the names which were on the original ticket.®* The Journal's 
ticket was successful, and this was regarded by the war party as 
a vote of confidence. The cleavage was more evident when the 
convention re-assembled in the winter. Early in the session 
a resolution was unanimously passed, declaring their belief in 
the justice of the war and in the patriotism and integrity of the 
State and Confederate administrations. But little else in its 
proceedings showed unanimity. 

Probably the most important question of the session was re- 
garding an ordinance to define and punish sedition, which was 
introduced by Judge Biggs, and which, among other things,®*^ 
provided for a test oath to be administered to all males in the 
State except the volunteers. The penalty for refusal to take 
it was exile from the State. Naturally it met with great oppo- 
sition. This was led in the convention by William A. Graham 

9* It is interesting to notice that during the war there was no State 
political convention. The nearest approach to it was a peace meeting 
in the Tenth Congressional District in 1864, which nominated George 
W. Logan for the Confederate Congress. All other nominations were 
made by or through the newspapers. 

95 The ordinance also declared any of the following offenses to be a 
misdemeanor and, as such, punishable: (a) Attempting to convey in- 
formation to the enemy, (b) Publishing and deliberately speaking 
against the public defence, (c) Maliciously and advisedly endeavoring 
to excite the people to resist the government of the State or of the 
Confederate States, (d) Persuading the people to return to a depend- 
ence on the government of the United States, (e) Knowingly spread- 
ing false and dispiriting news, (f) Maliciously or advisedly terrifying 
and discouraging the people from enlisting into the service of the State 
or Confederate States, (g) Stirring up or exciting tumults, disorders, 
or insurrections in the State, (h) Disposing the people to favor the 
enemy, (i) Opposing or endeavoring to prevent the measures carried 
on in support of the freedom and independence of the Confederate 
States. This summary is taken from Battle's Legislation of the Con- 
vention of 1861. 


and R. P. Dick. The former's speech in opposition to it was 
probably the main cause of its failure. He placed particular 
stress on the injustice to the Quakers. Mr. Dick argued that 
it would lead to the belief that North Carolina was a nest of 
traitors, a fact which was disproved by the large number of 
volunteers that had gone to the front, and that the spirit of the 
thing was contrary to the principles and ideas of the State.®" 
The ordinance was tabled indefinitely by a large vote in Decem- 
ber, and an attempt made the following February to consider 
it without the test oath, was defeated by a vote of 41 to 
37.®^ The matter was brought up again at the last session 
with the same result. The proposed ordinance was never pop- 
ular in the State, and was regarded with horror by many.*® 

During the session resolutions were introduced, declaring 
against party spirit, but they were never allowed to come to a 
vote, as the friends of the administration saw in them a veiled 
attack upon President Davis, Governor Ellis, and Governor 
Clark, and succeeded in having them tabled. Many other 
things were considered by the convention, and, remembering 
the difficulties experienced in the past, in securing amendment 
and revision of the constitution, it discussed and laid plans for 
quite a number of important constitutional changes. These 
were never finally adopted by this convention. Various mat- 
ters, however, occupied its attention, and a fourth session was 
held in April, 1862. It adjourned in May, subject to the call 
of the president, and if no call was made by November, 1862, 
this adjournment was to become sine die. 

By the time of its last session, the convention had become 
unpopular with the people generally. It accomplished little 
that they felt could not have been done by the General Assem- 
bly, and they were anxious for its adjournment. The original 

»e standard, Dec. 18, 1861. 

97 The State Journal said this was a strict party vote. 
»8 Battle, Legislation of the Convention of 1861, p. 124. The vote 
on tabling it was 47 to 48. Journal, p. 64. 


secessionists in the convention were in part responsible for this 
feehng, for they were in the minority and consequently desired 
adjournment in order that the legislature, in which they had a 
majority, might control the State.®® 

An effort was made before the convention adjourned to influ- 
ence it to declare the office of governor vacant and to elect a 
successor to Governor Clark. As Mr. Holden was prominently 
connected with this enterprise, it was commonly supposed thai 
he desired the office.^^^ The plan failed, but the convention 
provided for an election for governor and ordered that he 
should assume the duties of the office in September, instead of 
the following January. ^^^ Immediately the campaign began. 
The State Journal proposed that a convention should be held 
and its nominee elected without a contest. The press, with the 
exception of the Standard, favored this idea, but when it was 
seen that a contest was inevitable, the Charlotte Democrat nomi- 
nated William Johnston. He was, although a Whig, repre- 
sentative of the secession party, and it was felt that his busi- 
ness training and his executive ability as shown in his career 
as a railroad president, and, since the beginning of the war, as 
Commissary General of the State, would render him suitable 
for the position. 

Meanwhile the "Conservatives," as they now called them- 
selves, were casting about for a candidate. William A. Gra- 
ham was their first choice, but he declined to allow the use of 
his name. Through the influence of A. S. Merrimon, the Fay- 
etteville Observer nominated Zebulon B. Vance of Buncombe, 
at the time colonel of the 26th North Carolina regiment. He 
had been a Whig member of the Thirty-sixth Congress and 
had opposed secession until the call for troops, when he became 
a secessionist.^^^ He then volunteered and rose rapidly to the 

»o Journal, p. 130. 100 Western Sentinel, Jan. 31, 1862. 

101 Ordinances, 2d Session, p. 7. 

102 Vance said he was speaking for the Union with his arm raised 
when the news came of the President's call for troops and nis arm fell 
to the side of a secessionist. Speech to Andrew Poet, G. A. R. 


rank of colonel. In the fall of 1861 he declined to be a candi- 
date for Congress on the ground that there was greater need 
of fighting men/^' and even now he was very doubtful as to the 
wisdcxn of allowing his name to be used, but finally con- 

A large part of the press opposed a personal canvass in 1862, 
but the Standard said, "Honest men do not fear a public dis- 
cussion, but only the venal and corrupt," ^•^ and urged that one 
should be held. But apart from Vance's speeches in the army, 
the candidates took little part in it. The campaign was one of 
extreme heat and bitterness, especially between the newspa- 
pers.^^ There was no real issue regarding the war, for both 
parties claimed to have the same objects in view. It was really 
a campaign fought on the perscmality of the leaders. This was 
frankly the case so far as the Conservatives were concerned. 
But the original secessionists or "Confederate" party, saw, or 
appeared to see, in the success of the Conservatives, a complete 
surrender to the North. They adopted as a platform, the reso- 
lutions of confidence passed by the convention, and placed a 
summary of them upon their ticket which was as follows : 



An unremitting prosecntlon of the war ; the war to the 
last extremity: complete independence: eternal separation 
firom the North ; no abridgement of Southern territory: no 
alteration of Southern boundaries ; no compromise with 
enemies, traitors, or tories. 


FOR governor: 


io3Dowd, Life of Vance, p. 68. 

104 His letter of acceptance is in the Fayetteville Observer of June, 

105 Quoted in Western Sentinel of April 18, 1862. 

io«In the campaign the Standard, Fayetteville Observer, Hillsboro 
Recorder, Greensboro Patriot, Wadesboro Argus, Franklin Carolinian, 


It was not remarkable that the designs of the Conservatives . 
were a cause of suspicion to their opponents. Nor is it proba- 
ble that they were mistaken in their opinion of the objects of 
Mr. Holden. He was outspoken now in his opinion of the 
war, and said, "All those who, with South Carolina, preferred 
to break up the government, and who have not repented for so 
doing, will vote for Colonel Johnston." ^^^ But both Holden 
and his opponents were mistaken regarding the character and 
purposes of most of his associates. 

During the campaign a number of things, apart from the 
political questions involved, contributed to aid the Conservative 
cause. Since the beginning of the war there had been much 
dissatisfaction in the State at the attitude of Virginia towards 
.North Carolina. There was a feeling also that it was due 
largely to Virginia influence that more North Carolina offi- 
cers were not rewarded for their services by promotion. The 
Standard, as a ground for attack on the Confederate govern- 
ment, commented frequently on this. Just at this time the 
Richmond Enquirer commenced a series of attacks on the 
State. It is needless to say that the most was made of them 
for campaign material. Another material advantage was 
gained when Mr. Badger made public a letter he 'had written 
to Mr. Ely, of New York, and transmitted through Edward 
Stanly, who had lately been appointed military governor of 
North Carolina. This defended the action of the former Union 
men of the State and declared that they were all true to the Con- 
federacy and would never consent to a reunion with the North. 
This had effect in allaying the fears of many who were in 
doubt as to the loyalty of the leading Conservatives. 

Henderson Times, Salem Press, and Salisbury Watchman favored 
Vance, while the Wilmington Journal, Raleigh Register, State Journal, 
\/inston Sentinel, Concord Flag, Statesville Express, Shelby Eagle, 
Asheville News, Western Democrat, Charlotte Bulletin and Charlotte 
Whig, were for Johnston. 
107 Standard, June 21, 1862. 


The "Confederates" tried to offset this by quotations from 
the Northern papers, which were just now devoting much at- 
tention to North Carolina, and declaring that the election of 
Vance would be a Union victory.^®^ The New Era, published 
in Washington, N. C, which was now occupied by the Federal 
troops, issued an appeal to all Union men to vote for Vance 
and the other Conservative candidates/^® But the people could 
not be convinced that Vance was untrue, and an overwhelming 
victory was the result of the election. Out of a total vote of 
74,871 he received a majority of 33,975. Mr. Johnston carried 
only twelve counties. Out of the army vote of 11,683, ^^t 
distributed by counties, Vance's majority was 3,691. Never 
before had there been such a majority in a North Carolina 

Governor Vance, in his inaugural, outlined his policy and 
brought comfort to those of his opponents who had believed 
that he favored a return to the Union. Speaking of secession, 
he said, "It was not a whim or sudden freak, but the deliberate 
judgment of our people. Any other course would have in- 
volved the deepest degradation, the vilest dishonor, and the 

108 The Philadelphia Enquirer of June 18, 1862, commenting on the 
editorials of the Standard, said, "But here it comes out square and 
full, and in defiance of the Rebel powers, plants itself beside the old 
and honored Union. Who can douH that a State where such words are 
boldly uttered at a hundred miles distance from our armies, is ready to 
return, is even now returning, from her prodigal and ruinous career?" 
After the election it is said, "The issue in North Carolina was squarely 
secession against anti- secession. ♦ ♦ ♦ The result is a Union vic- 
tory . " 

i^The Register answered the appeal of the New Era as follows: 
"Votere of North Carolina! Do you doubt now the end and aim of 
Conservatism? Do you doubt that the Conservatives of the Depart- 
ment of North Carolina (Stanly's Department) and the Conservatives 
of the rest of the State are united by the common tie of reconstruc- 
tion? Will you not see the gulf that is yawning at your feet and 
crush out a party that would force you into a Union with those who 
are waging against you the most brutal war that the malice of the 
devil ever instigated?" 


direst calamity. We also accepted with the act all its inevit- 
able consequences, a long and bloody war. * * * To pros- 
ecute this war with success is quite as much for our people 
as for our soldiers to do. One of the most vital elements of 
our success is harmony. On this great issue of existence itself 
let there, I pray you, be no dissenting voice in our borders." 
To the surprise of many he pledged the enforcement of the 
conscript law. The speech throughout was a plea, and at the 
same time a pledge, for the untiring prosecution of the war. It 
met with hearty approval all over the State, the most cordial 
being expressed by his political opponents, and all question of 
his position regarding the war was at an end. 

It is not likely that at this time many people in the State 
meditated a return to the Union. It is certain that there was 
a small number who were planning such a thing whenever a 
suitable opportunity arose. But extreme dissatisfaction was 
present in many quarters and from various causes. The lack 
of an adequate coast defence, from the beginning of the war, 
was a ground of attack upon the Confederate government.^^® 
The establishment of the military prison at Salisbury caused 
much dissatisfaction, particularly in its neighborhood. This 
increased as the war progressed and many North Carolinians 
were imprisoned there.^^^ Disloyalty appeared in the eastern 
counties at the time of Federal occupation, and there was more 
or less of it throughout the war. As the year 1862 advanced 
cases elsewhere became more frequent. The assertion was 
constantly made that extreme disloyalty existed in Davidson,^^^ 
Forsyth, Randolph and Guilford counties. In Forsyth it was, 
at first, only a feeling in favor of peace, lacking leaders to 

110 The Wilmington Journal even called for the southeastern counties 
to unite with South Carolina, as the State disregarded their necessity. 
September 25, 1862. m Clark to Seddon, January 5, 1862. 

112 As early as July, 1861, Gov. Clark was notified of treasonable ut- 
terancas and actions in Davidson, but was powerless to do more than 
appeal to the people to assist him by their influence. Executive Let- 
ters, Clark, p. 57. 


make it a definite movement. In the campaign of 1862 one 
of the candidates for the legislature declared in favor of a 
compromise with the North and a reconstruction of the old 
Union."^ The great Quaker element in these counties was 
largely responsible for the opposition to the war, and although 
they furnished a considerable niunber of volunteers, the dis- 
couraging of volunteering and quiet resistance to conscription 
were so frequent that Governor Clark was compelled to issue a 
proclamation against it."* Deserters, also, began to come to 
these counties in such numbers as to excite attention. In March, 
a company was ordered for duty in Chatham for the purpose 
of arresting them. The State administration was practically 
powerless, for the criminal code made no provision for the of- 
fence, and the military code was almost useless in North Caro- 
lina.^-* At the election of 1862 troops had to be sent to Wilkes 
and Yadkin to prevent the deserters from interfering at the 

In the extreme West, matters had assumed a still more seri- 
ous aspect. General E. Kirby Smith was forced to send a 
detachment of troops to Madison county. He wrote Governor 
Clark that the whole population of Laurel Valley was hostile 
to the Confederacy and that all the males were under arms. 
Skirmishing was kept up the whole time the troops were in the 
valley.^^* Application was made to the War Department by 
the State for a military court for Western North Carolina for 
the sole purpose of trying deserters,^^' but no attention was 
paid to the request. Governor Vance, soon after his inaugura- 
tion, asked that troops might be sent there, and suggested 
that they should be from other States that tHe temptation to 
desert might be less. In the autumn many of the deserters 

113 His speeches ^^e^e quoted in the Western Sentinel of July, 1862. 

114 Executive Letters, Clark, p. 301. 

115 Mesage to the Council of State, February, 1862. 
iieQflf. Rec. No. 10, p. 629. 

117 Ibid, No. 128, p. 674. 


crossed over into Tennessee, and many formed organizations 
there for their d-efence.^^® 

In the spring of 1862 another cause of discontent was the 
appointment of W. S. Ashe by the Confederate government to 
procure amis in the State. He advertised that he was author- 
ized to purchase arms, and if necessary, impress them. Gov- 
ernor Clark at once issued a proclamation to the people, de- 
claring that there was no legal authority to direct the seizure 
of arms, and asking them to sell to the State whatever arms 
they had. He also wrote to Ashe and told him that no seizure 
of arms would be permitted.^^® 

The new General Assembly had a decided Conservative ma- 
jority, and at once proceeded to oust the Secretary of State and 
Treasurer and replace them with Conservatives. ^^^ This 
was the beginning of the execution of the plan which Mr. 
Holden had mapped out. Every Conservative member who 
exercised his own judgment in voting and so gave "aid and 
comfort" to the "Destructives," as he called the "Confederates," 
was condemned as guilty of bad faith.^^^ In further pursuance 
of the policy William A. Graham was elected to the Confeder- 
ate Senate to succeed George Davis. The Adjutant General 
of the State, J'. G. Martin, held also the rank of brigadier- 
general in the Confederate service; and because of this his 
office was declared vacant, and a successor chosen.^^^ The 
Attorney-General shared the same fate.^^^ 

The usual resolutions declaring the separation from the 
Union final and endorsing President Davis and Governor Vance 
were passed.^^* The North Carolina delegation in the Con- 
ns Off. Rec., No. 23, d. 940. • 
118 Executive Letters, Clark, p. 301. 

120 J. H. P. Russ was elected Secretary of State and Jonavhan 
\/orth. Treasurer. 

121 Standard, December 3, 1862. 

122 Daniel G. Fowle became Adjutant General. 

123 Sion H. Rogers succeeded W. A. Jenkins a® Attorney General. 

124 Laws,* 1862-3, p. 43. 


federate Congress were requested to urge the repeal of the 
"twenty-negro" clause of the military exemption act as un- 
necessary and in violation of the Bill of Rights and the spirit 
of North Carolina institutions.^^** A protest was made against 
the policy of burning cotton in the eastern part of the State/^® 
A great deal of unfriendly criticism had been aroused a 
short time before by the arrest of Rev. J. R. Graves, a minis- 
ter of Orange county, by order of the Confederate authorities, 
as a spy.^^^ His chief offence had been an unwise conversation 
while on his way South through the Federal lines, and a letter 
predicting a long war, which gave some slight information to 
the enemy. He was carried to Richmond and imprisoned. The 
General Assembly now directed the governor to demand his 
release. Upon his demand, Secretary Seddon gave an account 
of the causes of his arrest, justifying it as necessary, but dis- 
avowing the responsibility for his being taken from the State. 
No evidence was found against him and he was released.^^® 
Acts of this kind produced intense indignation in the State and 
fed the growing discontent with the Confederate government 
and its policy. Governor Vance in his message informed the 
legislature that there were many citizens of the State con- 
fined at Salisbury for political offences and asked that steps be 
taken to preserve the rights of the people. He was accordingly 
instructed to inquire into the causes of the arrest of the politi- 
cal prisoners,^^® and relief was granted by an act providing 
that the writ of habeas corpus should be issued, directed when 
necessary to the sheriff of the county where the arrest took 
place and by whom it should be obeyed and executed.^^^ 

126 Laws 1862-3, p. 49. 

126 General French had lately ordered all cotton east of the Wilming- 
ton and Weldon railroad to be burned to prevent its capture by the 
enemy . 

127 Off. Rec. No. 118, pp. 98-100, 794-6. 

128 Governor's message, 1862. 
120 Laws, 1862-3, Chap. 46. 
isoloid, p. 76. 


A bill was introduced providing for the enlistment of ten 
regiments of volunteers between the ages of eighteen and forty- 
five years of age, not liable to conscription. The bill was in- 
tro<Iuced by Judge Person. But it was so amended as to omit 
the provision of non-liability to conscription, and an effort to 
insert a preamble stating that no conflict should occur with the 
laws of the Confederacy was unsuccessful. It was clearly the 
purpose of the Conservatives to prevent the execution of the 
conscript law, and this excited so much opposition that 
the bill was defeated in the Senate after passing the House. 
Immediately afterwards, as an answer to criticism from Vir- 
ginia, a resolution was passed, vindicating the loyalty of the 
State and of the General Assembly. Seven "Confederate" 
members of the Senate and thirteen of the House voted against 
it on the ground that it endorsed the "Ten Regiment Bill." ^*^ 

The whole tendency/ of the majority in the legislature as 
expressed in their acts and resolutions was to oppose all fur- 
ther centralization of power by the Confederate govern- 
ment, and in so dome, oppose it in other respects. Mr. Holden, 
although not a member, was the dominating influence. 

Immediately upon the adjournment of the legislature a 
meeting was held by the m^embers favoring a vigorous prosecu- 
tion of the war and all citizens who cared to join them. An 
address to the people was issued, condemning the action of 
those who were opposing the war, and a central committee 
and a committee of correspondence were appointed. Promi- 
nent in this movement were ex-Governor Bragg, who had 
lately resigned from President Davis's cabinet and was in a 
sense a representative of the Confederate government in the 
State, Kenneth Rayner, D. M. Barringer, ex-Governor Reid, 
W. W. Avery and Weldon Edwards.^^^ 

The period between the adjournment of the legislature in 
February and its assembling in extra session on June 30th at 

ifli Journal, 1862-3, pp. 31, 190. 
182 Register, February 18, 1863. 


Governor Vance'vS call to consider financial matters, was with- 
out events of importance. It was marked, however, by a 
growing aversion to the conscript law and by constant appeals 
to the judiciary for writs of habeas corpus to obtain the release 
of those conscripted. Governor Vance, in May,^^^ ordered the 
militia officers not to arrest persons who had been discharged 
under the writ, and to resist such arrests by any persons not 
authorized by a court having jurisdiction. At the same time 
the increase of desertions caused him to issue a proclamation 
urging all those absent from their commands to return at 
once.^^* He also issued a third proclamation asking for volun- 
teers to enable him to comply with the President's call for 
seven thousand for six months' service in the State. He also 
referred the matter to the legislature when it met. 

The session only lasted a week. In this time laws were 
passed providing for the enrollment of a force of militia and 
for the punishment of those assisting and encouraging deser- 
tion. The governor was authorized to use the militia to enforce 
the conscript laws.^'** Governor Vance visited the body while 
in secret session and urged the drafting of magistrates and 
secured the adoption of the exemption bill of the Confederate 

Up to this time the peace sentiment had been expressed only 
individually. It reached the public, as a general thing, only 
through the editorial columns of the Standard and the Progress 
^^''and such papers as quoted them in opposition to their policy. 

138 Proclamation of May 11, 1863. 
184 Register, May 16, 1863. 

135 Laws, Extra Session, 1863. 

136 Off. Ree. No. 128, p. 619. 

137 The Progress had been published in New Bern until Federal occu- 
pation of the place. It was now conducted in Raleigh and was strongly 
opposed to the Confederate government. It had formerly been a strong 
secession paper. 


But a change now took place. Major Bradford, a Virginian, 
was appointed to collect the Confederate tithes in North Caro- 
lina. The ill feeling existing at the time on account of North 
Carolina troops being placed under officers from other States 
was intense, and the discontent at other acts of the government 
has been noticed. This was well known at Richmond, and the 
appointment was regarded in the State as showing a total dis- 
regard for the wishes of the people. Criticism was so severe 
and the people were so aroused that Governor Vance finally 
requested the withdrawal of Bradford and the appointment of 
a North Carolinian. This was done, but a pretext had already 
been given for action by the discontented element. Early in 
July the Standard called upon the people to assemble and ex- 
press their opinion on the state of the country.^^® This was 
followed a week later by an editorial which expressed the feel- 
ing behind the movement, "Peace! When shall we have 
peace?" It then quoted with approval from the Progress as fol- 
lows: "We favor peace because we believe that peace now 
would save slavery, while we very much fear that a prolonga- 
tion of the war will obliterate the last vestige of it." ^^° 

During the last week in July two meetings were held in 
Wake County. One demanded any peace that would give 
equality with the North. The other requested President Davis 
to suspend hostilities and call a convention of the States.^*® 
Both denounced the Confederate administration and endorsed 
Mr. Holden. Surry followed a few days later demanding "The 
Constitution as it is and the Union as it was."^*^ In close 
succession there followed meetings all over the State. The 
proceedings of sixty, held in about thirty counties were pub- 
lished.^*^ A large meeting was also held for the Tenth Con- 
gressional District. There is such a similarity in the resolu- 
tions passed that they evidently originated from the same 

138 standard, July 8, lSo3. 1*0 Ibid, July 29, 1863. 

139 Ibid, July 17, 1863. i4i Ibid, Aug. 12, 1863. 
142 Mr. Holden said that over one hundred were held. 


source. Mr. Holden denied this and said that the meetings and 
resolutions were purely spontaneous.^*^ But the evidence 
proves the contrary. The preceding January a meeting had 
been held in the 14th North Carolina Regiment to protest 
against the proposed "Ten Regiment Bill." Mr. Holden then 
threatened that if such meetings were held in the army he 
would start them at home for the people to '^express their opin- 
ion on the state of the country.^** President Davis had been 
warned before the movement began that a series of such meet- 
ings was to be held and that many feared that there was to be 
open resistance to the Confederacy. It was also intimated that 
the plan was to excite the people and co-operate with the 
enemy.^**^ He informed Governor Vance of this, who replied 
that there was no reconstruction party in North Carolina and 
that it would be unwise to take any steps against Mr. Holden. 
The former acknowledged, however, the existence in the State 
of widespread bad feeling and dissatisfaction with the Con- 
federate govemment.^*^ Mr. Holden was evidently feeling 
the pulse of the State with a view to decided action for the 
Union. He had, a short while before, written Andrew John- 
son, then military governor of Tennessee, that the people of 
North Carolina were true to the Union and would seize the 
first opportunity to free themselves from the Confederacy.^*^ 
General J. G. Foster also heard from some private source that 
such a plan was on foot.^** 

The publication of the proceedings of these meetings aroused 
a storm of abuse, particularly in the army. Over thirty regi- 
ments passed resolutions denouncing Holden and the meetings. 
A convention composed of delegates from every North Caro- 
lina regiment met at Orange Court-house, Virginia, and issued 
a protest, declaring false the claim of the Standard that the 

1*3 Standard, Aug. 12, 1863. i*«Ibid, p. 740. 

144 Ibid, Jan. 14, 1863. 1*7 Ibid, No. 60, p. 183. 

i«Off. Rec. No. 108, p. 739. i^sjbid, No. 45, p. 751. 


troops approved its action.^*^ In a few counties opposition 
meetings were held, and the grand jury of Surry, where the 
demand for peace had been most outspoken at the ensuing 
court, requested that all such meetings should cease, as they 
were disloyal and dangerous.^^® Mr. Holden was burnt in 
effigy in several places, and the feeling against him was more 
bitter than it had ever been. Every paper in the State, with 
the single exception of the Progress, condemned him. He, 
however, secure in the belief that he would not be harmed, 
calmly watched the storm and said, "Let the people speak; it 
is refreshing to hear them." 

Meanwhile Governor Vance, who, while anxious for peace, 
had opposed the meetings as dangerous until overtures came 
from the North,^'^ issued a proclamation urging the people to 
desist. General R. F. Hoke's brigade was ordered into the 
State about this time, and it was supposed that it was there to 
be on hand in case of any outbreak. So the meetings ceased. 
But Mr. Holden, and for that matter, many others, felt that 
he had the masses with him. The army, however, was still 
hostile.^'^^ So he contented himself with keeping the Standard 
full of communications that would keep the subject of peace 
before the people,^*^^ and that would excite hostility to the Con- 
federate government. He attempted to identify the movement 
with the one in Georgia, ignoring the fact that the latter de- 
manded Confederate action, while he favored action by the 



149 Wilmington Journal, August 20, 1863. Mr. Holden claimed after- 
wards that the delegates were all officers and that the privates were 
in sympathy with him. But many of the delegates were privates. 

150 Western Sentinel, October 1, 1863. 

151 Standard, July 29, 1863. 

162 Jonathan Worth to J. M. Worth, August, 1863. 

158 Lewis Hanes commenced a series of ably written articles against 
secession and the war, signed "Davidson." Dr. J. T. Leach also con- 
tributed a series of letters bitterly attacking the Confederate adminis- 
tration . 


The meetings and discussions had one effect: they caused 
desertions from the army in considerable numbers.^'* The mat- 
ter now became alarming. The deserters congregated in the 
mountains where it was almost impossible to reach them and 
plundered and murdered at their own will. They made over- 
tures to Governor Vance to enlist them for service in the State, 
but it was never allowed by the War Department.^*^^ The 
Home Guard was utterly unable to cope with them, and in 
many places they were assisted and encouraged by the inhabi- 
tants, who were actuated either by sympathy or fear.^^^ Nor 
were they only in the mountains. In Wilkes County five hun- 
dred of them were in a military organization under arms, and 
there were large numbers in Randolph, Catawba, Yadkin and 
Iredell, not to mention other localities where they were not so 
numerous.^'*'' A decided growth of Union sentiment was notice- 
able after Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg.^^^ 

The feeling aroused by the peace meetings was not long left 
without an outlet. In September a portion of Benning's Geor- 
gia brigade^*^® spent a night in Raleigh. A number of the 
soldiers went to Mr. Holden's residenc,e, but he eluded them 
and went to the Governor's Mansion and took refuge there 
until Governor Vance returned. After failing to find Mr. 
Holden the soldiers went to the Standard office and sacked it, 
throwing the type into the street. The press, however, was 
not injured. Governor Vance, who was sent for, came and 
urged the mob to disperse without further violence. The next 
morning: in retaliation, a mob composed of citizens of Raleigh, 
led by Mark Williams, a strong Union man, sacked the office 

i54 0flf. Rec. No. 49, p. 660; Carolina Watchman, March 21, 1864. 

155 Ibid., No. 128, p. 674. 

156 Ibid, No. 49, p. 676. 

157 Ibid, No. 128, pp. 783-5. 

158 Ibid, No. 35, p. 950. 

159 The Georgia troops claimed afterwards that the soldiers of the 
48th N. G. regiment were engaged in the riot and The Spirit of the 
Age said the same thing. 


should be held Governor Vance, while regretting the division 
which now came definitely between Mr. Holden and himself, 
refused to co-operate in the movement for a convention, and 
even thought of declining to be a candidate for re-election.^^° 
Another series of thirty or more peace meetings were now held 
and their proceedings published. All were hostile to the Con- 
federate government and nearly all demanded a convention. 
It is noticeable that Governor Vance was endorsed by nearly all 
of them. Mr. Holden, evidently, still hoped to control him, 
but Vance finally told him that all his pledges had been for a 
vigorous prosecution of the war and that his policy had been 
outlined in his inaugural address.^''^ 

The Richmond authorities were kept informed of the condi- 
tion of feeling in the State,^*"^^ and if matters had assumed a 
more serious aspect, would probably have interfered. Gov- 
ernor Vance, too, entered into a correspondence with Presi- 
dent Davis which became decidedly unpleasant in tone as it 
progressed. The President was warned that if the writ of 
habeas corpus should be suspended and arrests made in the 
State there would be resistance, particularly if they appeared 
unconstitutional. Governor Vance advised as little use of mili- 
tary power as possible, and said that if there was no military 
interference he had no fear of the appeal to the ballot box, 
as good and true men were working against any call of a con- 
vention and would do so while the civil law remained intact, 
and he did not believe the required majority for calling a 

citizens, and when she is forced to choose between a military despotism 
nnd her State sovereignty, for the good of the people, she will choose 
the latter by a convention of her citizens." Standard, January 12, 

170 Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War in North Carolina, pp . 
124 et seq. 

171 Mr. Holden and Dr. Leach asserted later that Governor Vance 
had approved of the Johnston CJounty resolutions. This was, on the 
face of it, false. 

172 Off. Rec. No. 129, p. 88. 


convention could be obtained. He accused Mr. Davis of pro- 
scribing of "old Union men" and gave that as one reason for 
the discontent with the Confederate administration.^^^ In his 
reply Mr, Davis denied the charge, but acknowledged that he 
suspected that a nest of traitors were conspiring at home, and 
hinted at arbitrary measures, promising that if they were neces- 
sary due regard would be paid to civil rights. ^^* Governor 
Vance again wrote renewing the charge, but denying any per- 
sonal feeling.^^^ Mr. Davis made an explanation, and after 
declaring that Governor Vance had overstepped the bounds of 
propriety, requested that the correspondence might cease.^*^^. 
At the request of the North Carolina members of Congress 
Governor Vance published the correspondence in June, omit- 
ting the portions of the President's letters that he thought 
would do harm. 

On February 24th the Standard announced the passage of the 
act of Congress suspending the writ of habeas corpus, and, in 
the same issue, Mr. Holden announced that the publication of 
the paper would be suspended indefinitely. The latter was a 
surprise to the public, but the reason is evident. March 3rd 
he issued an extra edition and announced himself as a candid- 
ate for governor. Reversing his opinion of 1862,^'^'^ he requested 
that there might not be any canvass, as it would cause useless 
disturbance and excitement. He declared himself a Conserva- 
tive "after the straitest sect." The announcement caused no 
surprise, for it had been generally predicted that he would be a 
candidate. The campaign was thus begun five months before 
the election. 

173 President Davis sent this letter ta George Davis, endorsed as fol- 
lows: "For consideration and advice. The assertdons are discourteous 
and untrue. The rhetoric is after the manner of the Standard. 
Neither my acts nor my words can justify the slander that I have re- 
garded North Carolinians with distrust or withheld due promotion to 
any of her gallant soldiers. J. D." Oflf. Rec, No. 108, pp. 218-20. 

174 Ibid, pp. 824-7. i76 Ibid, pp. 844-6. 

176 Ibid., pp. 830-3. 177 See p. 39, preceding. 


The Standard resumed publication in May, and active work 
was commenced for Mr. Holden. The opposition, at first, 
caused consternation among the friends of Governor Vance, 
as many of them did not appreciate his power. Mr. Holden 
relied mainly on the masses from whom he had sprung and 
whom he had hitherto led. But Governor Vance, also, was pre- 
eminently a man of the people, and his efforts to relieve suffer- 
ing of every kind, and his steadfast determination to preserve 
civil liberty, had endeared him to thousands. His care of the 
soldiers, the fact that he had been a soldier himself, and his 
efforts for a vigorous prosecution of the war made friends for 
him among those who had opposed him most bitterly only two 
years before, and who were still intensely hostile to Mr. Holden. 
But it was a battle of giants. Mr. Holden was an old and 
experienced political leader and had always been able to inter- 
pret public sentiment. And he had usually been on the popular 
side. But he now failed to realize how much he had helped 
to create and mould the peace sentiment, and believing that it 
originated with the people he thought their minds could not be 
turned from it. His editorials were as vigorous as ever, and 
were even more widely read than ever,^^® but a new power had 
risen against him — the oratory of Vance. Nothing more stir- 
sing or effective was ever known in the politics of North Caro- 
lina. The people flocked to hear him, and his speeches at Fay- 
etteville, Raleigh and Wilkesboro, particularly, attracted great 
attention. From this time, regardless of past affiliations, but 
with no change in his policy. Governor Vance was allied with 
the war party. His platform, terse and vigorous, indicates this : 

** The supremacy of the civil over military law. 

"A speedy repeal of the act suspending the writ of habeas 

"A quiet submission to all laws, good or bad, while they re- 
main on the statute books. 

178 The circulation of the Standard was increasing very rapidly at thia 
time. Mr. Holden would send it when desired, regardless of payment 
for it. 


'*No reconstruction or submission, but perpetual independ- 

"An unbroken front to the common enemy; but timely and 
repeated negotiations for peace by the proper authorities. 

"No separate State action through a convention, no counter 
revolution, no combined resistance to the government. 

"Opposition to despotism in every form and the preservation 
of our republican institutions in all their purity." ^^® 

After he perceived that his power with the mass of the people 
was departing Mr. Holden attempted to win the support of 
prominent political leaders and men of property. But here 
his past record, by contrast with that of his opponent, was 
sufficient to blight his aspirations. The old leaders had been 
willing to make use of him, but they neither respected nor 
trusted him, and so declined to support him. R. P. Dick, 
Thomas Settle and Alfred Dockery were the only men of prom- 
inence in the State who supported him. 

Mr. Holden had great difficulty in justifying his change of 
opinion regarding Governor Vance. Consistency, however, was 
never one of Holden's virtues and he usually laid no claim to 
it. But, in this case, he assumed that a change had taken place 
in the governor's actions and declared that he had "made his 
bed with the Destructives" and was entirely controlled by a 
clique composed of Thomas Bragg, H. K. Burgwyn and George 
Little, and, consequently, although he had been elected as a 
peace candidate, was eager for war. Accordingly Holden de- 
clared the issue now to be simply war or peace.^®^ 

During the campaign the legislature met for a session of 
two weeks. The governor, in his message, took ground against 

179 Raleigh Conservative, May 4, 1864. This paper was regarded 
as the organ of the State administration. 

180 Alfred Dockery said he would support Mr. Holden as a peace man, 
but that he had no confidence in him. Fayetteville Observer, July 25, 

181 Mr. Holden headed his editorial sheet with the following: "The 


thing public. The society was widespread and in constant 
communication with the North. It was, naturally, ardent in 
its support of Mr. Holden, and orders were issued to members 
to vote for him as aiding their cause and as a member.^®^ One 
confession led to another, and within two weeks a very large 
number announced their withdrawal from membership. Mr. 
Holden ridiculed the idea of its existence, but the dread it pro- 
duced probably lost him many votes. He was accused of being 
in the pay of the North,^®^ and this was believed by many. 

The election in the army came first, and Governor Vance 
received a very large majority — 13,209 out of 15,033 votes 
cast. Evidently the "Red Strings" had only a small army 
membership.^®* The election in the State followed, and Mr. 
Holden carried only two counties — Randolph and Johnston. 
Out of a total vote of 72,561 Governor Vance had a majority 
of 43,579. Mr. Holden made accusations of fraud and intimi- 
dation, but did not press the matter, recognizing that, even if 
his charges were well founded, which was a matter of doubt, 
there was little possibility of securing redress.^®*^ He issued an 
address to the people, declaring himself a friend of the State 
and Confederate governments and desirous of a vigorous prose- 
cution of the war, at the same time favoring every effort for 
peace on honorable terms.^®^ 

i»2 This information was gathered from the various confessions made 
at the time and published, and from the statements made to the writer 
by living members of the society. 

193 Greensboro Patriot, July 21, 1864. 

i»4The Greensboro Patriot said that many votes were lost to Mr. 
Holden by no provision being made for ballot boxes in the woods, where 
most of his military supporters were hiding. 

195 A careful examination of the records and the newspapers and 
conversations with participants in the election have failed to show 
the existence of fraud. Without question, voting for Mr. Holden sub- 
jected one to violent unpopularity. 

i96otandard, August 17, 1864. 


GoverDOT Vance called the Council of State into session early 
in October. He then expected the end of the ¥^ar to come in 
the last days of 1864. He urged prompt assistance to Gaieral 
Lee, and suggested that there were many State crffcers that 
might well be put into service. He also mentioned that he 
had called a meeting of the governors of the States east of 
the Mississippi, in Augusta, Georgia, to agree upcm some 
uniform plan of action. He asked for authoritv' to call a 
special sessicm of the l^slature immediately after this meet- 
ing, but the council unanimously refused.^*' 

The meeting of the governors was held with no particular 
result of importance, except that the possibility^ of any separ- 
ate State action was made more remote than ever. Resolutions 
were passed calling for a vigorous prosecution of the war,**"* 
and after some discussion the meeting adjourned. 

In the State the autumn was gloomy, with no outlook for any 
brighter future. Depression was everywhere, for much of the 
energy of the State was exhausted. Such a large proportion 
of her citizens were in the military service that a lifeless condi- 
tion at home followed. The conscript law, in spite of its un- 
popularity', had been more thoroughly enforced than in any 
other State.^** In the mountains deserters from the State, 
and also from South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, had 
assembled, and in some localities had driven away the inhabi- 
tants who were in sympathy with the Confederacy. Federal 
officers were seen among them, and in the early part of the 
year, in accordance with a suggestion of General Sherman,*^ 
a regiment was raised by George W. Kirk, who commanded 

i«7CoTmcil of State Records, pp. 161-2. 

iMQff. Rec. No. 89, pp. 1149-50. 

!•• President Davis's speedi at Greensboro, October, 1861. 

200 Off. Rec., No. 77, p. 233-4. 

201 Ibid, No. 89, pp. 1251-4; No. 59, p. 741. 


The governor's message to the legislature recommended 
that the age limit for military service be raised to fifty-five 
years, and that more power be given to him as commander-in- 
chief. Both these recommendations were adopted in part.^®^ 
The governor was authorized to ship $200,000 worth of cotton 
and tobacco to be applied to the necessities of the North Caro- 
lina prisoners at the North. Resolutions were adopted pro- 
testing against arming the slaves and against any legislation 
by Congress regarding the writ of habeas corpus; but on the 
other hand it was formally declared to be the purpose of the 
State to continue the war vigorously. In secret session four 
commissioners were appointed to visit Richmond and confer 
with the President upon the condition of the country.^®^ As 
a result of a combination to defeat the Holden candidate, Thos. 
S. Ashe was elected over Edwin G. Reade to succeed W. T. 
Dortch in the Confederate Senate. 

Although the war party, since the election, was again in the 
ascendant, the opposition was not silenced altogether. Dur- 
ing the session of the legislature John Pool introduced in the 
Senate a series of peace resolutions which provided for com- 
missioners to meet those from other States and to act upon 
instructions from the President. These were referred to a 
committee, from which two reports were made. That of the 
majority favored the adoption of the resolutions. The minority 
opposed adoption, declaring that the State, while it remained 
a member of the Confederacy, could not form such an agree- 
ment with the other States as was proposed by the resolutions. 
A sharp debate followed, resulting in the tabling of the resolu- 
tions.^®* In the House a resolution introduced by L. Q. Sharpe, 
declaring the right of individual State action, met a similar 

202 Laws, 1864-5, Chap. 20. 

203 Raleigh Confederate, February 15, 1865. This paper was the 
successor of the State Journal as the organ of the Confederate admin- 
istration . 

204 The vote on tabling was :. to 20. 


fate.^*^^ A bill for calling a convention was also introduced 
but never acted on. 

In Congress the majority of the North Carolina members 
were constantly urging that the President should make propo- 
sitions for peace. In December Dr. Leach introduced in the 
House of Representatives resolutions declaring that secession 
had taken place in an unguarded moment and without deliber- 
ation, and that when the United States should recognize the 
reserved rights of the States, the Confederacy should treat for 
peace on any terms that the commissioners of both might agree 
upon. On a motion to reject all present voted in the affirmative 
except six of the North Carolina members.^®^ Three of these 
immediately asked leave to change their vote, as they had only 
voted that way out of consideration for a colleague.^®^ Later 
in the session the resolutions were introduced and considered 
in secret session.^^^ 

The fall of Fort Fisher and the consequent capture of Wil- 
mington convinced many that there was no need of any fur- 
ther movement toward peace, for it would come without aid in 
North Carolina. Some talk of a convention again began, but 
without any effect. Governor Vance still addressed the people 
urging unity of action, and public meetings were held in vari- 
ous counties, pled'ging support to the Confederacy.^^* 

After the failure of the Hampton Roads conference Mr. 
Graham, who was at the time president pro tern of the Con- 
federate Senate, and who had been instrumental in bringing 
about the conference, was one of the committee which inter- 

205 McPherson, History of the Rebellion, p. 619. The vote was 
52 to 50. 

206 T. C. Fuller, J. M. Leach, J. T. Leach, J. G. Ramsey, G. W. Logan, 
and Josiah Turner. 

207 Fuller, Ramsey, and J. M. Leach. 

208 Conservative, February 1, 1865 . 

209 Such meetings were held in Wayne, Chatham, Wake, Granville, 
Cabarrus, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Gaston, Rowan, and Davidson counties. 


viewed the President regarding it. Afterwards he gave notice 
in the Senate that he would introduce a resolution to open nego- 
tiations with the United States, but for some reason, probably 
perceiving its uselessness, he never did so. 

The most of the people at home, with all hope of the success 
of the Confederate cause gone, waited for the end to come 
with no thought of the constitutional and political questions 
which were therein involved. 

6. Financial and Economic Conditions in War. 

When the ordinance of secession was passed the total bonded 
indebtedness of the State was $11,119,500. The annual interest 
on this sum amounted to $667,170. There was also an en- 
dorsement of railroad bonds to the amount of $150,000.^^® 
The greater part of the debt had been contracted for internal 
improvements, and all of it had been made since 1849, ^^^ ^^t^t 
of the bonds maturing in 1890. Before January, 1866, $364,- 
000 would fall due. During the early years of the war more 
bonds were issued for internal improvements, amounting to 
$1,619,000.2^^ Of this amount $420,000 was issued under acts 
passed before May 20, 1861. To offset this indebtedness the 
State held bonds and stocks of corporations^^^ to the value 
of $9,297,664.88. 

Before the meeting of the convention the legislature author- 
ized three issues of treasury notes, amounting to $2,000,000, 
and three issues to the banks of six per cent bonds to the 
amount of $2,250,000. The issues of notes and bonds were to 

210 The bonds were endorsed for the Wilmington & Weldon R. R. 

211 This was for the benefit of the Chatham R. R., Western R. R., 
Western North Carolina R. R., and the Wilmington, Charlotte and 
Rutherford R. R. 

212 Bonds were held of the Western R. R., Wilmington, Charlotte and 
Rutherford R. R., and the Atlantic and N. C. R. R. Stocks were held 
of the Western, Atlantic & N. C. R. R., Raleigh and Gaston R. R. and 
North Carolina R. R., and in the Albemarle and Chesapeake canal. 



alternate. Banks were relieved of specie payment while the 
State owed this debt.^^^ At the second extra session of the 
legislature issues of $800,000, in notes of small denominations, 
and $1,000,000 in large were authorized. The treasurer was 
forbidden to receive in payment of public dues the bills or notes 
of any bank that should refuse to receive treasury notes as cur- 
rency. Holders of notes were allowed to exchange them at 
any time for six per cent bond«.^^* In December, 1862, issues of 
$1,500,000, in bills of small denominations, and $3,000,000 in 
large were provided for, redeemable January, 1866, and fund- 
able only in twenty-year bonds, bearing interest at six per cent. 
^^**In July, 1863, Confederate notes, without regard to the date 
of issue, were made payable for taxes, and the treasurer and 
other State officers were directed to fund such notes in seven 
per cent Confederate bonds.^^® In December the treasurer was 
directed, in case of a deficit, to sell six per cent thirty year bonds 
not to exceed $2,000,000, and also to issue $400,000 in small 
notes.^^^ The following May an additional issue of notes to the 
amount of $3,000,000 was provided for.^^^ In December, 1864, 
it was enacted that all future treasury notes, including those 
re-issued, should be payable in 1876.^^* At the same session 
tl^e treasurer was directed to pay the debt of the State, be- 
coming due in 1865, in bonds.^^^ 

The convention, in the meantime, had authorized the issue 
after March, 1862, of $3,200,000 in notes, redeemable in 
1866, subject to a change of date by the General Assembly. 
Included in the same act was provision for a loan, not to exceed 

213 Laws, first extra session, 1861, Chap. 4. 
214 Ibid, second extra session, 1861, Chap. 18. 

215 Ibid, 1862-3, Chap. 29. 

216 Ibid., Ex. Sess., 1863, Chap. 12. 

217 Ibid., Adjourned Sess., 1863, Chap. 26. 

218 Ibid., Adjourned Sess., 1864, Chap. 18. 

219 Ibid., 1864-5, Chap. 23. 

220 Ibid., 1864-5, Chap. 2. 


$3,000,000, including the amount already borrowed from the 
banks, and the issue therefor of bonds bearing interest at six 
per cent payable in twelve months and redeemable at such a 
time and on such terms as the treasurer might see fit to impose. 
Banks which had loaned their pro rata share, and whose charter 
forbade the issue of notes of small denominations, were author- 
ized to make such issues. Specie payment should not be re- 
quired as long as the debt remained unpaid.^^* In December 
an issue of $3,000,000 in notes was provided for, bearing six 
per cent interest and payable in 1865. These were receivable 
at any time for debts due the State at the treasury. They were 
also fundable in thirty-year, six per cent bonds. None were 
to be re-issued, but new ones issued in their place not to exceed 
the original amount.^^^ The interest-bearing feature was later 
repealed.^^^ In February, 1862, provision was made for fund- 
ing any of the treasury notes issued under ordinance of con- 
vention, in eight per cent, twenty-year bonds, or in six per cent 
thirty-year bonds. The notes so funded could be re-issued. 
The treasurer was also authorized if necessary to issue further 
$2,500,000 in notes, payable in 1866.^^* 

In the war period, thus, a total of $20,400,000 in treasury 
notes was authorized, and of this $8,507,847.50 had been issued, 
$^,261,511.25 being withdrawn later, leaving in circulation at 
the close of the war $5,246,326.25. Bonds were issued to the 
amount of $13,121,500,225 After deducting the unsold bonds 
in England, those redeemed, and those in the sinking fund, 
the balance was $9,119,000. Unpaid interest and similar items 
made the total war debt, including treasury notes and internal 
improvement bonds, $16,596,485.61. But corporation bonds 
amounting to $6,800,000 were held as a partial offset to this.^^^ 

221 Ordinances No. 34. 

222 Ibid, second session, No . 16 . 

223 Ibid., third session. No. 2. 

224 Ibid, No. 35. 

228 Treasurer's report, January 19, 1866. 

226 These bonds were of the city of Raleigh and the R. & G. R. R. 


In addition to the State debt individual counties owed a 
sum estii:nated in 1864 at $20,000,000,--' This debt had been 
contracted by the county courts, chiefly to proxnde for the 
destitute of soldiers. Their acts were legalized by the 
l^slature in iS6i.--* 

The financial legislation of the period is thus seen to be com- 
plex, not because it was part of an elaborate financial scheme, 
but from its numerous contradictions, its multiplicity of acts 
and its slip-shod methods. But at the same time it must be 
remembered that it was not the work of trained financiers but 
of unskilled men who were suddenly compelled to make 
"bricks without straw." The fact that t\%'o separate bodies 
were enacting financial legislation at the same time was also, 
in part, a cause of lack of method. One thing can be said of it : 
It bears eloquent witness to the confidence felt in the State 

The banks of the State suspended specie payments in No- 
vember, i860. Resumption, as has been seen, was delayed 
until the State debt should be paid. In May, 1861, the banks 
agreed to lend the State twenty per cent of their capital stock. 
This proportion, in most cases, was largely increased later,*-® 
Bank-note extension never went so far in North Carolina as in 
the other Southern States,*^® and consequently depreciation 
was less. But Confederate currency fell in value to such an 
extent that the legislature in 1863, attempting to raise it, passed 
a resolution pledging that the State would resist any attempt 
to repudiate it.^^^ Naturally, with such an immense volume 
of currency, depreciation began soon in the State's notes as 

227 standard, June 28, 1864. Schwab, Confederate States of America, 
1861-1865, p. 307. 

228 Act of May 11, 1861. 

229 Schwab, Confederate States of America, p. 128. 

230 Ibid, p. 131. 

231 Tvesolutions, called session 1863, p. 19. 


well. This continued until the end of the war,^^^' At the be- 
ginning of the war the banks had more than a million dollars 
in specie,^^* and at the close still had $800,000.^^* 

The State assumed the Confederate tax and levied a special 
tax to pay it. This was never fully collected. The payment 
to the Confederate government was in excess of what was due 
and the State was later reimbursed. The Confederacy also 
paid it about $8,000,000 for supplies for the army. The State 
expenditures for military purposes to November, 1864, were 
nearly twenty millions. 

The military stores were obtained, for the most part, from 
Europe by means of blockade-runners. In 1862 General J. G. 
Martin suggested that the State should purchase and operate 
a vessel of its own. In spite of oppositions^** the plan was 

232 After the war a table c 
necessarily imperfect, it gives 
It was, 

Months. 1861. 

)f depreciation was 
some idea of the pr 

1862. 1863. 
11. 20 $3. 00 
1.30 3.00 
1. 50 4. 00 
1. 50 5. 00 
1. 50 5. 50 
1. 50 6. 50 
1. 50 9. 00 
1.50 14.00 
2. 00 14. 00 
2. 00 14. 00 
2. 50 15. 00 
2. 50 20. 00 

ogre«s of d( 

$21. 00. 

While it is 














November, $1. 10 

December, 1. 15 

Dec. 1st to 10th 


al. Mr. I 

Dec. 10th to 20th, 

Dec. 20th to 30th 

This table is found in Laws, 1866, Chap. 39. 
283 Report of Finance Committee, 1861. 
234 Governor Worth's message, 1865. 
* 235B. F. Moore opposed it as unconstitution; 
opposed it for political reasons. 

lolden also 


adc^ted and the vessel was purchased for $190,000 and paid for 
with cotton without drawing on the treasury. The "Ad« 
Vance,'' as the vessel was named, was an Eng^lish vessel, built 
for passenger service and described by Governor \'ance as 
"long-legged." It could cany- eight hundred bales of cotton 
and a double supply of coal. Thus it was able to bring f roni 
Bermuda enough Welsh coal for the return vo}-age. Eleven 
successful trips were made. After the fifth trip Governor 
Vance sold a half-interest for $130,000, with which he re- 
deemed State bonds. The vessel was finally lost through the 
act of the captain of the Confederate cruiser Tallahassee. Being 
short of coal he took from the "Ad-\^ance" her extra supply. 
This obliged her to make her outward trip with North Carolina 
coal, which reduced her speed, left a trail of smoke, and made 
her fall a victim to the Federal blockaders.*** The State also 
had an interest in the *TIansa" and the "Don." Their use, 
however, was abandoned on account of the excessive charge 
made by the Confederate government, one-half of each cargo 
being seized. Through the use of these vessels an immense 
amount of valuable stores was imported. No entirely accurate 
figures can be obtained as to the amount, but Governor Vance 
said in 1885*" that he had distributed large quantities of ma- 
chinery-, 60,000 pairs of hand wool cards, 10,000 sc}-thes, 200 
barrels of bluestone for fertilizing wheat, 250,000 pairs of shoes, 
50,000 blankets, cloth for 250,000 uniforms, 12,000 overcoats, 
2,000 Enfield rifles with 100 rounds of ammunition each, 100,- 
000 pounds of bacon, 500 sacks of coffee, $50,000 worth of 
medicines at gold prices, and an immense supply of minor 
stores. Through this means the North Carolina troops were 

The State taxes were increased several times during the war. 
The tax on real estate in 1861 was one-fifth of i per cent, and 
in 1863 it was two-fifths of i per cent, and in 1864 was i per 

236 Governor's' message, 1864. 

287 Speech at Baltimore. A more accurate and detailed account is in 
the Confederate of June 28, 1864. 


cent. The revenue, consequently, more than doubled in amount, 
but in specie value fell one-third in 1862 and one-half in 1863.^^^ 
The revenue acts show a decided extension. That of 1862 
included a graduated inheritance tax on all amounts exceeding 
$100, and also an income tax.^^® Of all the taxes, the Confed- 
erate tax in kind bore most heavily and was, consequently, the 
most unpopular. To it North Carolina was one of the largest 
contributors. No accurate record can be found of the entire 
amount of produce collected. By June, 1864, 3,000,000 pounds 
of bacon, 75,000 tons of hay and fodder, 770,000 bushels of 
wheat, besides other produce valued at $150,000 had been col- 
lected.^*^ For the other Confederate taxes, the State paid, by 
1864, $10,000,000. 

During the years immediately preceding the war, many of 
the newspapers and a few of the leading men had advocated 
taking steps towards the commercial independence of the South. 
But the plan went no further than suggestion before hostilities 
commenced. In i860, the manufacturing interests of the State 
were of but slight importance. There were 39 cotton factories, 
all of them small. Of the seven woollen mills, only two, at 
Rock Island and Salem, were of any importance. Iron was 
worked to a small extent, but the total capital invested was only 
$200,000, and this was distributed among more than thirty 
plants. Of every kind there were only 3,689 manufacturing 
establishments in the State, and out of a population of 992,622, 
only 14,217 were employed in these factories.^*^ It is true that 
home manufacture supplied many of the domestic needs, but 
this was of small aid in solving the economic problems which 
the war imposed. 

The State was even without an adequate source for a supply 
of salt, and this early occupied the attention of the convention. 
An ordinance was passed, providing for the election of a com- 

238 Schwab, Confederate States ot America, p. 303. 

239 Laws, 1862-3, Chap. 57. 

240 Schwab, Confederate States of America, p. 297. 

241 The figures were obtained from the census of 1860. 


missioner to manufacture salt and sell it to the people at cost 
price.^*^ A later ordinance gave the commissioner power to 
purchase land for salt works, and if necessary, seize it under 
the right of eminent domain.^*^ The same act exempted from 
military service all persons under contract to make salt. This 
remained in force until 1864, when General Whiting broke up 
the salt works and conscripted the employees,^** In 1862, the 
governor was directed to employ in the works, Quakers who 
could not pay the exemption fee of $100.^*'* Dr. John M. 
Worth was appointed commissioner. He was later succeeded 
by D. G. Worth. The first works were at Morehead City and 
were captured by the enemy before they were well in operation. 
Works were then located near Wilmington, and were producing 
250 bushels per day when yellow fever broke out. The work 
was later resumed and carried on, with some interruptions, 
until the capture of Wilmington. The works were raided by 
the Federal troops in 1864, but with little damage. During the 
year 66,100 bushels of salt were made and sold at $7.75, when 
the market price at Wilmington was $19. Before the end of 
the year, the price was raised to $13, the market price rising to 
$25. By March, 1865, the market price in Raleigh was $70. 
The works were entirely self-supporting and paid back the 
original outlay. The State was also interested in the works at 
Saltville, Virginia. In addition to the State works, it was esti- 
mated that private individuals made about 2,500 bushels a day. 
Most of this was carried to other States for speculation.^*® 
The value of the salt works cannot be fully realized, unless the 
conditions existing in the army and in some of the other States 
where no provision for a supply was made, are remembered. 

242 Ordinances, second session, No. 8. 

248 Ibid, third session. No. 18. 

224 Worth Letters (unpublished). 

248 Ordinances, fourth session, p. 164. 

246 Governor's message, 1864. Report of Salt Commissioner, 1864. 


The danger of speculation was another thing which early 
attracted attention. Prices of the necessaries of life began to 
rise during the first year of the war and soon reached a specu- 
lative point. The Standard was particularly and justly abusive 
of the speculators and promised to keep a "Roll of Dishonor'* 
for publication at the close of the war.^*"^ To lessen the evil, 
Governor Clark, acting under the advice of the Council of State, 
proclaimed an embargo upon the exportation of certain supplies 
from the State, except for the use of the State or Confederate 
governments.^*® An extension of this was made a few weeks 
later.^*® The convention, at its second session, made specula- 
tion in the necessaries of life a misdemeanbr.^*^® This was evi- 
dently inoperative for some reason, and the legislature at 
various times during the war considered the matter. One law 
was enacted prohibiting the practice,^''^ but it seems to have 
been utterly futile. Governor Vance had recommended its 
passage and at the same time placed an embargo on the neces- 
saries of life for thirty days.^''^ 

Prices rose steadily as the war progressed.^''^ A board of 

247 standard, October 2, November 20, 1861, et seq. 

248 Register, September 25, 1861. 
240 Ibid, October 9, 1861. 

260 Ordinances, second session, p. 75. 

251 Laws, 1862-3, Chap. 56. 

252 Off. Rec., No. 128, p. 214. 

253 The following table, gathered from the Raleigh market reports, 
gives a good idea of tne rise ' of prices on various articles : 

Price, Sept. 


Aug. 29, 

March 27, 


15, 1862. 




Bacon, per pound, 





Beef, per pound, 





Corn, per bushel, 



20.00 ' 


Meal, per bushel, 





Coffee, per pound, 





Eggs, per dozen, 





Fowls, each, 





TiRrd, per pound, 






appraisement was appointed to value articles for purchase by 
the government, but their prices were far below the market. 
Every two months a new schedule of prices was published for 
the information of the people. 

Many families had every male member in the army and no 
other means of support but their labor. The pay of a private, 
or for that matter, of an officer, in the Confederate army, was 
not sufficient for the support of one person, and consequently 
widespread distress soon appeared. In and around Raleigh, 
everyone could get a living by working in the factories and 
hospitals. But this only a^ected a small part of the population. 
Early in his administratioiv Governor Vance saw the condition 
which would arise, and took immediate steps to prevent suffer- 
ing so far as possible. He asked Mr. Edwards to assemble the 
convention to consider what plan should be adopted to relieve 
distress, but this request was refused for some unknown rea- 
son. At the governor's recommendation, the legislature author- 
ized him to purchase and store provisions to sell to the poor at 
cost.^" A large quantity was purchased in the fall of 1862, 
but only a small part was needed, as the crops were unusually 
good.^*^*^ But the value of the plan was seen in the later years 
of the war, when the crops were smaller and food more scarce. 
One great cause of the distress in the State was the lack of 
facilities for transportation. This often kept supplies from 

Price, Sept. June 8, Aug. 29, March 27, 

Article. 15,1862. 1863. 1864. 1865. 

Molasses, per gallon, 3. 00 10. 00 25. 00 25. 00 

Potatoes, per bushel, 1. 00 4. 00 7. 00 30. 00 

Sweet potatoes, per bushel, 1. 50 5. 00 6. 00 35. 00 

Wheat, per bushel, 3. 00 8. 00 25. 00 50. 00 

Flour, per barrel, 18. 00 35. 00 125. 00 500. 00 

Pork, per pound, 1.60 4.00 5.50 

Sugar, per pound, .75 1. 60 12. 00 30. 00 

Brandy or whiskey, per gal., 5. 00 20. 00 40. 00 100. 00 

254 Laws, 1862-3, Chap. 15. 

255 Governor's message, November, 1863 . 

76 re;construction in north Carolina. 

being sent where they were most needed. There were portions 
of the State where the amount of suffering was very slight. 
The few records that remain of the tithe collection, show that 
in many places the crops were good and food abundant. But 
impressment and foraging by detachments of Confederate 
troops, and the foraging and destruction by the enemy, in the 
eastern and western portions of the State, led to the loss of a 
great part. Governor Vance sent frequent and bitter com- 
plaints to Secretary Seddon. In one of his letters, he said: 
"If God Alminghty had yet in store another plague for the 
Egyptians, worse than all others, I am sure it must have been 
a regiment or so of half-armed, half-disciplined Confederate 
cavalry."^*^® Another cause of just complaint was the bringing 
of large numbers of worn-out horses to the western part of 
the State to recuperate. There, they were turned loose, and 
in the absence of fences caused immense damage to the grow- 
ing crops. Complaints to Richmond, however, brought no re- 
dress and no cessation of the nuisance.^'"^ 

A great cause of suffering was the lack of drugs. Such as 
were used were mostly of home manufacture. The "Ad- Vance" 
brought in large quantities, but nearly all were sent to the 
front or used in the military hospitals in the State. Sickness, 
as might be expected, was very frequent. Smallpox existed 
in many neighborhoods and the lesser epidemics were every- 
where. In 1862, Wilmington was visited by a virulent type of 
yellow fever which in two months caused 441 deaths. The 
total number of cases was 1,505.^'^^ New Bern also had a 
sharp epidemic of yellow fever, but it was during Federal oc- 
cupation and no statistics are available. 

In May, 1861, the legislature passed a stay law. This was 
declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and was re- 

256 Vance to Seddon, December 1, 1863. 

257 Laws, second session, 1861, Chap. 11. 

258 Ibid., 1863, Chap. 61. 


pealed in September and another passed.^^® This prevented 
executions being issued in civil suits. In 1863, the provisions 
of the statute of limitations were extended for civil matters by 
omitting the period from I^Iay 20th to the end of the war. 

By 1865, the State was, in an economic sense, almost pros- 
trate. The end of the war thus averted much suffering that 
would have followed had hostilities continued longer. 

259 The following extract from The Last Ninety Days of the War 
gives an excellent idea of the condition of the portion of the population 
that had been wealthy before the war: "In North Carolina families of 
the highest respectability and refinement lived for months on com 
bread, sorghum, and peas. Meat was seldom on the table, tea and 
cotfee never; dried apples and peaches were a luxury. Children went 
barefoot through tiie winter, and ladies made their own shoes and wove 
their own homespuns; carpets were cut into blankets, and window 
curtains and sheets were torn up for hospital use; soldiersf* socks were 
knit day and night, while for home service, clothes were turned twice 
and patches were patched again." 



The Beginnings of Reconstruction During the War. 

No sooner had the Federal troops gained a foothold in the 
State than efforts were made to gather together such of the 
people as favored the cause of the Union and such as were 
dissatisfied with the Confederacy, by means of the establish- 
ment of a new State government around which they might 
rally. Two such attempts were made, both unsuccessful. In 
the first instance, the movement professed to originate within 
the State. Although it was sponsored by the Federal military 
forces, it was designed to form a civil government. The second 
was avowedly military and had its origin in an order from the 
President of the United States. 

/. The Hatter as Convention and Government. 

The fall of Fort Hatteras and the capture of Hatteras Inlet 
by the Federal fleet and forces under General B. F. Butler in 
1861, gave an opportunity for the first enterprise. Certain per- 
sons who were disloyal to the State government began a 
movement, avowedly intended to restore the State to the Union, 
but really designed, as the sequel indicated, chiefly to promote 
their own interests. 

The population of Hyde and Washington counties was 
sparse and was almost entirely unprotected from the invading 
forces. Practically all of the male population who were in 
sympathy with the Confederacy, were in the army. Those at 
home were Unionists in feeling, partly through genuine dis- 
like of the war and a desire to avoid military service for the 
Confederacy, and partly also by fear of the Federal forces, at 
whose mercy they were placed on account of the lack of any 
adequate coast defence. 

Almiost mimsftSicdiT aiiier tfee capom* «»?•£ the In:l«<rt. Cciiot^rf 
Rngrfo C- Hi^srknis. of the XEnrh Xewr Yock W'^ItrctteCT^ mg^ 
a5)prnaicfeetf hj siomie oi tfee rrrhabttacrt? wb>> hi^ taksrtn t:ti^^.t 
at tSue appinofflrft iD-f the Fetierii iJeetL artiii a^ke^i tk> gTnwtiC tNrttt 
pemiissbjc]: Q5> mriLuinnii tt> theEr feocmes;. as tfeiey kivf tak«fi ink> f»ijurt 
agsmst t&e UmfteTi Staines aE&i fcad nso* iteire tv> ^> $kX At kbs 
siEgg^csti^m a&Gcm tferrty took the oath ot akH^gmiJce am! p«vtti> 
ised m keef •' the co rnrna rKier of the Fevleral locoes LtifvNrttxv! vc>i 
the inTi!(0»Tem)eErts •D«f the CotifeieirateN^ In rettmrn they xveme fwrvxx^ 
iscd pTTDtectioinL Wtthrn a week, two htnn>«iire\i anivS fifty per- 
s€«ms hsd takea the oath tEnder stmiilar cvxiivittioct:?^ They 
declajred thair secret tneetrirt^ were beici^ hekS in all the 
axmties hordioiiig on PamHoo Sotmd and that fear a)o<^e^ pee- 
Tented the people frocn c^>enly avowin^r their Unioo $«\ti- 
mentSc^ Col<^Dnei Hawkins, in his report, sng^^ested the potsssi- 
iKlity of a ODfuvendon of the State being called by the pev>|>!e 
tmder the protection of the Federal forces> through which, he 
thought, a third of the State would be at once restored to the 
Union. In order to forward a movement of this kind, as fast 
as the inhabitants took the oath they were sent across the sound 
to act as spies and to test opinion there. Their reports led 
him to bdieve that it would be pnxluctive of gooil results to 
enlist Xorth Carolina volimteers for serxnce in the State, He 
suggested that, as a pledge of good intentions, the government 
should pay for the property which had been plundered and 
destroyed by Federal troops, not amoimting in all, he thought, 
to more than $5,000, and also provide the inhabitants with 
food and clothing.* He was greatly hindered in his progress 
towards pacification by the depredations of the 20th New York 
R^^ent and threatened their commanding officer. Colonel 
Weber, with the use of artillery against them if a stop was not 
put to it.* 

lOff. Rec., No. 4, p. 608. 
2 Ibid, pp. 608-9. 
» IbicL, No. 4, p. 610. 


Acting upon his suggestions, President Lincoln, in Septem- 
ber, wrote General Scott, requesting him to frame an order 
for recruiting North Carolina volunteers at Fort Hatteras. 
He left it with General Scott to decide about the officers, but 
said Secretary Seward thought his nephew, Clarence Seward, 
"would be willing to go and play colonel and assist in raising 
the force."* In accordance with this, the acceptance of North 
Carolina volunteers, not to exceed one regiment, was author- 
ized. On September 17th, Colonel Hawkins, in order to clear 
the minds of the people of prejudice against the Federal forces, 
issued a proclamation, addressed to the people of North Caro- 
lina, declarin^f as the purpose of the invasion the relief of the 
loyal people of the State from "rebels and traitors," and calling 
upon the people to return to their allegiance to the United 
States.*^ He scattered copies of this proclamation through all 
the country along Pamlico Sound and sent them to various in- 
•land towns. Almost immediately, the State authorities became 
aware of it, but Governor Clark, while alarmed at the reports 
which reached him, was unable to do anything which would 
remedy matters. Judge Biggs, of the Confederate Court, 
wrote General R. C. Gatlin, who commanded the Confederate 
forces in the East, that he was doubtful if a majority of the 
population of Washington county could be depended on, in 
case of invasion, and that while few were openly disloyal, the 
sentiment in Tyrrell and Beaufort was such as to cause grave 
uneasiness.® This was the condition of affairs when the se^- 
constituted leaders of Union sentiment in eastern North Caro- 
lina began the movement which, it was hoped, would result 
in the restoration of the State to the Union. 

These leaders were Charles Henry Foster and Marble Nash 
Taylor. Comparatively little is known of either of them. Tay- 
lor was a Methodist minister, a native of the "Pan-Handle" of 

4 Off. Rec., No. 4, p. 613. 

5 Ibid, pp. 658-9. 

6 Ibid, p. 671. 


Virginia, who was with the Confederate troops at Hatteras. 
He joined the Federal forces before the capture and was 
accused, whether falsely or not, of giving information to them 
which contributed to the ease with which victory was obtained. 
In a letter to a brother-in-law in Cumberland county, where 
he himself had formerly lived, he said that he had been com- 
pelled by the force of circumstances to side with the Union.*^ 

Charles Henry Foster was a native of Maine and a graduate 
of Bowdoin College. He had first come South in the employ 
of some land company, and in i860 was editor of a Brecken- 
ridge newspaper in Murfreesboro.® He was, apparently, in 
favor of secession, but after the fall of Sumter, his attitude 
made the people suspicious, and he was expelled from the town 
by a public meeting of the citizens. He appealed to Governor 
Ellis for permission to remain in the State and, through the 
efforts of friends, the vote was rescinded. He in the mean- 
time had declared his good intentions.® But in November he 
had succeeded in reaching New York, and in company with 
Taylor attended a large meeting at which Mr. George Bancroft 
presided, which was held for the assistance and encouragement 
of the proposed new administration in North Carolina.^® The 
plan of action was largely mapped out there and the State 
Department was notified of their intentions by Foster, who 
stated that all the North Carolinians in New York, who were 
loyal to the Union, favored the plan and that it was hoped and 
expected that it would largely increase the Union sentiment in 
the State. He also said that six counties would be represented 
in the convention, which had already been called, and that while 

7 Western Democrat, October 1, 1861. 

8 New Bern Progress, December 12, 1861. 

» Register, May 21, 1862. He stated in a letter that his oath as 
a Knight of the Golden Circle would prevent his taking sides against 
the South. 

10 New York Tribune, November 8, 1861. 



the Unionists of the western part of the State had desired 
that the movement should begin there, they had agreed 
to the plan as formed and would ratify all the acts 
of the new administration. No change in the laws 
and constitution of the State, as they were in April, 1861, was 
intended. The proposed government would have authority with 
a majority of the freemen of the State, and when "rebel intimi- 
dation" was disposed of, it would be recognized by 60,000 men, 
since all the great mining, railroad, and other business interests 
of the State were committed to the plan.^^ 

The so-called convention of the people met, November i8th, 
at Hatteras. The minutes of the meeting name forty-five coun- 
ties as represented. Only six or eight persons, however, com- 
posed the convention, Taylor and Foster holding what they 
called proxies for the rest of the counties named. These so- 
called proxies were authorized by no meetings of citizens, but 

merely by individuals, who, in most instances, lived in other 

By an ordinance, Taylor was proclaimed provisional gov- 
ernor, and another declared the ordinance of secession null and 
void and instructed the governor to issue a call for an election 
of members of Congress.^^ He took the oath of office before a 
justice of the peace, and two days later issued the proclamation. 
The election was held and Foster received all the votes cast. 
He, accordingly, presented himself in Washington, as a mem- 
ber from either the first or the second district. The matter was 
referred to a committee, which reported unfavorably, and in 

11 Off. Rec. No. 122, pp. 630-1. 

12 The following is one of the proxies; 

"lima, N. Y., November 16, 1861. 
Dear Sir:— ^I address you this line to request you to represent the 
Union men of Onslow County, North Carolina, in the .State convention 
to organize a provincial government, having once been a resident of the 
county and knowing something of the feeling there existing. 
Rev. M. N. Taylor. I am, respectively, 

i3Houre Mis. Docs., No. 2, 37th Cong., 2nd Sess. 


December a resolution was passed declaring him not entitled to 
a seat from either of the districts named.^* He was not dis- 
couraged and another similar election was held January i6th, 
at which he again received all the votes. A large number of 
memorials requesting his admission were sent to Congress, and, 
in the meantime, for some reason, possibly because he feared his 
case was weak, another election was held January 30th, with 
the same result. Later, he claimed that this was a postpone- 
ment from the 1 6th. Taylor, as a private citizen, then peti- 
tioned Congress to order an election, and Foster requested the 
same thing. 

The voting in all the elections was in Hyde county only. 
The memorials ratifying his election were, in several cases, 
signed in only one or two handwritings, and when he appeared 
before the committee on elections, he could give only a very in- 
adequate explanation of the fact, but claimed that he had been 
rightfully, if not legally, elected. He made no claim for the 
existence, de facto or de jure, of the Hatteras government, but 
urged that the Union men of North Carolina should be recog- 
nized by Congress. He was forced to acknowledge that only 
about four hundred citizens of the district had expressed their 
approval of his claim, although its voting population was over 
nine thousand. The chief basis for his claim was the prece- 
dent set by the admission of Maynard and Clements from Ten- 
nessee, who had been elected in somewhat the same way.^'* His 
claim was so poorly supported and his statements so contradic- 
tory that the resolution declaring him not entitled to a seat 
passed with no opposition. An attempt made to compensate 
him as a contestant failed. 

And so ended the first attempt at reconstruction.^® 

14 House Mis. Docs., No. 15, 37th Cong., 2nd Sess. 

i5±iouse Reports, No. 118, 37th Cong., 2nd Sess. 

18 Taylor became a newspaper correspondent. Foster was later cap- 
tain of a company of colored troops. In 1868, he was defeated for the 
convention . 


//. The Administration of Edward Stanly. 

The second attempt at reconstruction was begun May 19, 
1862, when President Lincoln, as commander-in-chief of the 
army, appointed Edward Stanly military governor, with the 
rank of brigadier general. Unlike all the other nominations 
of this kind, this was never sent to the Senate for confirma- 
tion.^^ He was empowered to perform all the duties of gov- 
ernor, and to appoint officers, institute courts, and suspend the 
writ of habeas corpus, during the pleasure of the President, or 
until a civil government should be organized.^^ 

A general belief prevailed in the North that there was so 
strong a Union sentiment in North Carolina that, with a capa- 
ble leader, the State could soon be reclaimed for the Union. 
So far as devotion to the Union was concerned, Edward Stanly 
was a most suitable choice to "foster Union sentiment." ^® He 
was born in North Carolina in 1808 and had attained great 
prominence there. He had been three times a member of the 
House of Commons and twice had been Speaker. He had also 
been a representative in Congress, where he had been very in- 
fluential. In addition, he had served one term as attorney- 
general of the State. He had removed to California in 1853 
and in 1857, although a believer in slavery and a slaveholder 
himself, had been nominated by the Republicans there for gov- 
ernor, but was defeated. He was a man of high and uncon- 
trolled temper and was noted for his bitter denunciation of 
political opponents. He made many warm friends, but as 
many equally bitter enemies, and was consequently ill adapted 
for a conciliatory mission. The fact that he was a native only 
made his task more difficult. 

The day after his appointment. Secretary Stanton notified him 
of his duties and ordered General Burnside to co-operate with 

17 House Reports, No. 7, (testimony) p. 886, 40th Cong., 1st Sess. 

18 Off. Rec, No. 9, p. 396. 

10 So expressed by Hon. John S. Ely of New York, in a letter to 


him and furnish any military assistance that might be neces- 
sary.^^ Governor Stanly arrived in New Bern, May 26th. 
General Burnside was at first, seemingly, doubtful of their rela- 
tions,^^ but later was thoroughly in sympathy with his policy.^^ 
No sooner had he reached North Carolina than Stanly, in seek- 
ing to conciliate the people and to execute the State laws, 
made himself an object of dislike and suspicion to the element 
in Congress and at the North to whom the chief purpose of the 
war was the abolition of slavery with all its concomitants. An 
enthusiastic gentleman from New England had established a 
school for negro children in New Bern. Concerning this Stanly 
announced that while he approved of kindness to the destitute, 
black or white, he had been sent there to restore the old order of 
things and, consequently, could not give his approval of the 
school, as it would injure the Union cause. He consented that 
such religious instruction might be given as was thought best. 
Apart from this, he said that the laws of North Carolina for- 
bade the teaching of slaves to read and write, and he could not 
expect success in his undertaking, if, at the start, he encour- 
aged violation of the law. Consequently, he demanded the 
closing of the school. In respect to fugitive slaves, also, Stanly 
took like ground. Slaves were constantly leaving their masters 
and coming into the Union lines, and in many instances they 
were taken away by the soldiers and notified that they were 
free. Whenever the owners would take the oath of allegiance 
to the United States, Stanly had the slaves restored to them.^' 
He also threatened with confiscation the owners of vessels who 
carried off slaves.^* 

H. H. Helper, who held a civil position in New Bern, wrote 
a letter to Stanly offering some advice as to how he should 
execute the duties of his office. Stanly resented it and ordered 
Helper to leave New Bern. He at once went North, 

20 Off. Rec, No. 9, p. 397. 22 ibid, p. 403. 

21 Ibid, p. 394. 23 Ibid., p. 400. 
24 CJorreapondence of N. Y. Herald, of May 3l8t, 1862. 


in company with Mr. Colyer, the gentleman whose school 
had been closed, and furnished the newspapers with a 
highly-colored account of Stanly's official actions. This 
led to sharp criticism of the governor and to the accusa- 
tion that he was in sympathy with the South. On June 3rd the 
House of Representatives passed a resolution asking* the Presi- 
dent to furnish information as to the powers conferred upon 
Stanly by his appointment, whether he had interfered to pre- 
vent the education of children, black or white, and if so, by 
what authority. If by the authority of the government, for 
what purpose were such instructions given? Simr'lar resolu- 
tions were also passed in the Senate.^'* Secretary Stanton re- 
ferred the matter to Stanly, who at once replied outlining his 
policy and asking for instructions. The following points on 
which he desired instructions show the difficulties he had to 
meet almost daily: "When slaves are taken violently from 
loyal owners by armed men and negroes, what protection can 
be given for the future? When persons connected with the 
army cause slaves to leave their masters, can the latter, if loyal, 
have permission and protection to prevail on them to return? 
Will authority be given to prevent the removal of slave prop- 
erty by vessel without the consent of the owners ? If the mili- 
tary governor should interfere with actions that are in violation 
of long-established laws of the State, and persons connected 
with the army should make inflammatory appeals to a crowd 
composed of several hundred negroes, exhorting them to vio- 
lence and bloodshed, what action should he take to prevent its 
recurrence? When slaves of loyal owners are employed by 
the United States authorities, can any steps be taken to secure a 
part of their earnings for their owners ?'' ^^ 

It is apparent that there was a decided difference of opinion 
between the governor and the officers commanding in North 
Carolina, for in April General Parke had notified citizens of 

28 Sen. Journal, pp. 553, 666. seQflf. Rec, No. 9, pp. 401-2. 


Beaufort, who had appealed to him to prevent slaves from com- 
ing into his lines, that he would not use force to aid owners 
in their recovery, but would only allow them to use persuasion.^"^ 
General Burnside had also adopted the policy, almost neces- 
sarily, it is true, of never returning any escaped slaves to their 
owners.^^ In addition to these difficulties Stanly was beginning 
to discover that a difference had arisen between himself and 
those with whom he had been intimately associated in the past 
and that Union sentiment was at a minimum in North Carolina. 
Even in New Bern, occupied as it was by Federal troops, very 
little appeared.^® This change of sentiment, since the time 
when he lived in North Carolina before, had not been compre- 
hended by him when he came back to the State and seemed 

In the hope of arousing some feeling he visited the various 
towns in which he was well known and which were now occu- 
pied by the Federal forces and made speeches.^® But he ac- 
complished little for the Union cause, for he was generally re- 
garded with hatred and suspicion as a traitor to his State, and 
this kept from him the suppcwt of all men of character and 
influence. For a time the Federal officers in the State thought 
he would be of great benefit to the Union cause, but this feeling 
disappeared when his policy was clearly seen.^^ 

The policy of the State government and of the Confederate 
officers was to ignore Stanly^s pretensions to the office of gov- 
ernor and to communicate officially only with General Burn- 
side.^2 In the fall of 1862 Stanly wrote to Governor Vance 
and asked for an interview with him or with any citizens of the 
State that he might select. He said that he felt sure that North 
Carolina was in the quarrel only through a misunderstanding, 
and he wished to confer in regard to measures that might lead 
to an honorable peace; that he was authorized to negotiate an 

27 0flf. Rec, No. 9, p. 382. so Western Sentinel, June 27, 1862. 

28 Ibid, p. 390. 31 Off. Rec, No. 9, p. 397. 

29 Ibid, p. 409. 32 Executive Letters, Clark, p. 337. 


exchange of political prisoners and wished this interview with 
its object to be perfectly open. Governor Vance declined the 
proposaP^ on the ground that he was without authority from the 
Confederate government to treat for peace and that separate 
State action was not to . be thought of .^* A correspondence 
with General D. H. Hill and General S. G. French did not 
lead to any more hope of reconciliation, but, if possible, rend- 
ered it more unlikely, since Stanly provoked indignation by the 
violence of his language. 

He was greatly handicapped in his peaceful efforts by the 
operations of the Federal troops in the eastern part of the 
State. His argument that they were "a glorious army of noble 
patriots" lost its significance in view of their constant plunder- 
ing and burning, and his protests against this were without 
avail. General Bumside, when he first landed in the State, had 
forbidden all unnecessary injury to the property or persons of 
the inhabitants,^*^ but when General Foster assumed command 
no attention was paid to this order.^® Stanly's last official act 
was a protest against the condtict of the troops in Hyde 
county.^'' The condition of the "loyal" population was thus 
pitiful. Cut off from Confederate protection, partly by circum- 
stances and stifl more by their own acts, their "loyalty" insured 

33 Mr. Holden said in 1867, that on his advice, Governor Vance would 
have consented to treat with Stanly for peace, but was prevented by 
W. A. Graham. As the statement was made in a political attack upon 
the latter, it is not worthy of credit. Standard, January 16, 1867. 

34 The correspondence will be found in Off. Rec., No. 123, pp. 845-9. 
Governor Vance ignored Stanly's military title and Stanly himself wrote 
as a private citizen. 

35 Off. Rec., No. 9, p. 359. 

36 General Foster's course was very different from thg-t of most of 
the Federal officers in the State. In 1863, he gave his approval to a 
plan for beginning a general slave insurrection. Off. Rec., No. 26, 
pp. 1068-9. 

37 Ibid, p. 182. 


them no immunity from outrage and violence at the hands of 
the Federal troops. 

In December Stanly ordered an election to be held for a 
member of Congress from the second district. Jennings Pigott, 
a native of the State who had been a resident of Washington 
City for many years, and had only returned as Stanly's private 
secretary, was chosen. Charles H. Foster contested the election 
but neither was seated.^® 

In the meantime Stanly had become convinced of the hope- 
lessness of his mission. More than that he was utterly out of 
sympathy with the policy of the administration in regard to the 
slaves. He protested against the enlisting and drilling of them 
on the ground that subordinate military officers were unfit to 
decide when their condition was suitable in the meaning of the 
President's proclamation, and because it created a danger of a 
servile war.^® Finally, January 15, 1863, he sent his resigna- 
tion to the President, giving at the same time the reason for his 
action. He stated that he had assured the people of the State 
that the administration was only trying to restore the Union 
and would secure the rights of the people. But since the eman- 
cipation proclamation any further assurance of the kind was 
impossible. Regarding the proclamation he said, "It is enough 
to say I fear it will do infinite mischief. It crushes all hope of 
making peace by any conciliatory measures. It will fill the 
hearts of Union men with despair and strengthen the hands of 
the detestable traitors whose mad ambition has spread desola- 
tion and sorrow over our country. To the negroes themselves 
it will bring the most direful calamities." He reviewed his 
course as military governor and said concerning this, "That I 
have offended some is probable; but they were those whose 
schemes of plunder I defeated — whose oppressions of the inno- 
cent and helpless I resisted — whose purposes seemed to have 

38 Contested elections, p. 462. House Mis. 39th Cong., 2nd Sess. 
Globe, pp. 1209-12. 

39 Off. Rec, No. 26, p. 525. 


been to join or follow the troops and to encourage and partici- 
pate in the most shameful pillaging and robbery that ever dis- 
graced an army in any civilized land." *® 

His resignation was accepted in March and he returned to 
California. No successor was appointed. In the State it was 
thought that Daniel R. Goodloe, a North Carolina abolitionist, 
would be appointed, but the position probably seemed to the 
President a very useless one. In 1864 Mr. Stanly wrote the 
President that he had been asked to return to the State arid that 
when he was needed in his private capacity he was ready to 
go.*^ But no occasion for his services ever arose. 

The second attempt at reconstruction had ended as disas- 
trously as the first, so far as the progress of Union sentiment 
was concerned.*^ It remained for the military forces of the 
United States to begin the final and ultimately successful at- 
tempt when all resistance in the State to the authority of the 
United States was at an end. 

J. The Downfall of the State Government. 

The fall of Richmond and the steady advance of the Federal 
army on the State capital showed that the end of the struggle 
was at hand. It was clear that no effective opposition to Sher- 
man's advance could be made, and preparations were begun to 
save what little remained unhurt in the State, particularly the 
property of the State. 

Ex-Governor Swain, from his retirement at Chapel Hill, 
entered into correspondence with Mr. Graham and Governor 
Vance. Perceiving the impossibility of a meeting of the legis- 
lature in time to be of service, he suggested that Governor 

*o House Report No. 7, (testimony) pp. 331-2. 

*i Governor Stanly, after his return to California, opposed the radi- 
cal policy of Congress, and in 1867, canvassed the State against the 
Republican candidate for governor. He died in 1872. 

42 Stanly was of infinite service to the people of New Bern as a pro- 
tector against injury. 


Vance should hold a conference with the former governors of 
the State as to the best course to follow.*^ Mr. Graham had 
been convinced ever since his return^ from Richmond at the 
close of the session of Congress that the Confederate cause was 
hopeless and also that, as long as supplies for the army could 
be obtained by the administration, the war would be continued. 
Consequently he thought it the duty of the State administration 
to attempt to make as good terms as possible with the Federal 
forces. In any event he thought it best that the legislature 
should be in session and ready to act when it should be neces- 
sary. He accordingly advised Governor Vance to this effect. 
Then, in conference with Mr. Swain, Mr. Graham worked out 
a complete plan of action : the General Assembly should be 
summoned and should pass resolutions expressing a desire for 
peace and inviting the other Southern States to join the move- 
ment ; commissioners should be elected to treat with the United 
States and report to a convention which should at once be called, 
and in the meantime a commission should treat with General 
Sherman for a suspension of hostilities. 

Mr. Graham had warned Governor Vance that the North 
Carolina members of the Confederate House of Representatives, 
or most of them, were ready to call the legislature by advertise- 
ment. But the governor was still doubtful of the wisdom of 
the proposed plan. He did finally summon the Council of State, 
but only a bare quorum was present and the vote on the question 
submitted to them resulted in a tie. The governor then refused 
to issue the summons to the legislature. But when the plan 
matured by Graham and Swain was laid before him by the lat- 
ter and when it became evident that General Sherman would 
occupy the capital in a few days he yielded, and after consulting 
General Johnston decided to send for Mr. Graham and discuss 
the question of treating with the enemy. The conference was 
held and a letter to General Sherman prepared, asking for an 

43 Of these, Swain, Graham, Morehead, Manly, Reid, Bragg, and Clark 
were ^ttlill living. 


interview regarding the suspension of hostilities.** General 
Johnston in the meantime had retired westward ; but before he 
left Raleigh he advised Governor Vance to make the best terms 
possible.**^ Ex-Governor Bragg, B. F. Moore and Kenneth 
Rayner were consulted and agreed to the plan. General Hardee 
was present at the conference and gave Messrs. Graham and 
Swain, who agreed to act as commissioners, a safe conduct 
through the lines.*^ 

In Raleigh there was great excitement but very little dis- 
order. The inhabitants were busy concealing valuables in the 
hope that they might escape the usual fate of movable property 
along the line of march of Sherman's army. A laige number 
of houses in Fayetteville had been burned and it was greatly 
feared that Raleigh would not escape. The legislature, at its 
last session, had authorized the removal of all the State records 
and cases had been made for that purpose. The Council of 
State, at a meeting in March, decided that the governor and 
treasurer or one of them should take the records away if it be- 
came necessary. They were now placed in the care of Treasurer 
Worth and carried to Company Shops, a small place in Ala- 
mance county. At the same time an immense quantity of sup- 
plies belonging to the State was distributed along the line of 
the North Carolina Railroad between Raleigh and Salisbury. 
Governor Vance remained in Raleigh to hear the result of the 
conference with Sherman, in doubt whether to continue there 
or to retreat with the army as he was urged to do. 

The same day General Archer Anderson notified President 
Davis that commissioners were going to Sherman with pro- 
posals for peace, and at the same time ordered General Hamp- 
ton not to allow them to pass. Governor Vance also notified 
President Davis of the fact. General Johnston then directed 
General Hampton to arrest the members of the deputation, and 

44 Off. Rec., No. 100, p. 178. 

45Dowd, life of Vance, p. 483. 

46 Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, pp. 142-4. 


to allow no communication with the enemy, except by flag of 
truce. In the meantime the commissioners, accompanied by 
three members of the governor's staff,*'' had left Raleigh to 
meet General Sherman who was about fourteen miles distant. 
When they had gone some distance from Raleigh they were 
stopped by General Hampton, who was unwilling to pass them 
but could not refuse to obey General Hardee's order. Conse- 
quently, after some delay, he passed them and sent a courier to 
General Sherman with communications from himself and from 
the commissioners. They had hardly started when the order 
came from General Johnston for them to return to Raleigh. 
They were again stopped and turned back, but on the way to 
Raleigh the train was captured by the Federal General Atkins 
and the commissioners carried to General Kilpatrick's head- 
quarters. There they received the first news of Lee's surrender. 
They were from there sent to General Sherman, who treated 
them with every courtesy and with whom they remained until 
the next day.*® He requested them to inform the governor 
that, in accordance with his instructions from the President, 
he wished the State officers to continue in the performance of 
their duties until he could communicate with President Lin- 
coln.*® He also replied to Governor Vance's letter stating that 
It was impossible to give him an interview at the time, but 
enclosed a safe conduct for himself and such State officers as 
would remain in Raleigh.*^® 

When the commissioners, on their return, reached Raleigh, 
they found that Governor Vance, who in the meantime had 
almost decided to remain in Raleigh, had again changed his 
mind and had gone to Hillsboro with General Hoke, who 

47 These were Surgeon-General Warren, C5olonel Burr, and Major 

*8 Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, pp. 145-55. 
« Sherman's Memoirs, Vol. II, pp. 327, 345. 
eoOflf. Rec., No. 100, pp. 178-9. 


passed through Raleigh that day.**^ Before his departure he had 
authorized the mayor to surrender the city and had written a 
letter to General Sherman asking his protection for the capital 
and the State property. 

The next day the city was surrendered by a committee of 
citizens, and the keys of the capitol were delivered by Mr. 
Swain to an officer of the Federal army.*^^ 

Another safe conduct was then sent to Governor Vance, but 
he declined to return before seeing President Davis, who had 
summoned him to Greensboro, General Breckenridge invited 
him to be present at the conference with General Sherman, 
but for some reason he was excluded and went on to Greens- 
boro. There he begged permission of the Confederate authori- 
ties to accept General Sherman's offer of protection for the 
State property which was in great danger at the Shops, and to 
send it back to Raleigh in the care of Mr. Worth. This Gen- 
eral Breckenridge refused to allow. From Greensboro Gov- 
ernor Vance followed President Davis to Charlotte, where he 
had a conference with him. Mr. Davis intimated that he wished 
Vance to accompany him in the retreat, but General Brecken- 
ridge interfered, advising him to return to his position and its 
duties.^^ This he resolved to do, and accordingly sent Mr. 
Worth to Raleigh with a letter to General Sherman in which 
he volunteered to return, summon the legislature and recom- 
mend its calling a convention.^* But General Sherman had 
left Raleigh and General Schofield, refusing to see Governor 
Vance, instructed Mr. Worth to bring the records to Raleigh, 

Negotiations had been going on in the meantime between 
Johnston and Sherman in regard to the terms of surrender. 

51 Only with great difficulty did Governor Vance decide what course 
to pursue. Mr. Worth entreated him to remain and surrender the capi- 
tol himself, but the influence of the CJonfederate officers probably 
caused his decision to retreat. 

52 Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, p. 162. 
53l>owd, life of Vance, p. 486. 

64 Letter from Jonathan Worth to the Sentinel, October 28, 1865. 


During the progress of the negotiations Governor Vance sug- 
gested to the former that if they were successful he should 
turn over the army stores to North Carolina in part payment 
of the debt owed to the State by the Confederate government 
He stated as an additional reason for doing so that the soldiers 
in Johnston's army had taken possession of much of the State 
property. General Johnston declined to accede to the request 
and denied that his soldiers had been guilty of plundering the 
State.'** When the terms of surrender had been agreed upon 
and General Schofield came to Greensboro, Governor Vance 
asked his protection for the State property and offered to sur- 
render himself, but General Schofield, in accordance with his 
instructions, refused to receive his surrender and advised him 
to go home.**® Governor Vance then requested that William 
A. Graham, John A. Gilmer and Bedford Brown might go to 
Washington. By the President's order this was refused.**'' Gov- 
ernor Vance then went home and remained there until May 
14th, when he was arrested by the President's order, car- 
ried to Washington and confined in Old Capitol Prison. Just 
before going home he issued an address to the people urging 
them to abstain from violence of any kind and pledgmg himself 
to do all he could to restore the civil authority.**® 

The capture of Raleigh on April 13th was accompanied by 
very little disorder. Private property, in most instances, was 
respected, though this was by no means always the case.**^ The 
offices and property of the Confederate and Conservative news- 
papers were immediately destroyed. A few days later General 
Sherman ordered the Progress to suspend publication for criti- 
cism of some act of his. Later he allowed its publication to 
continue. When the news of President Lincoln's assassination 
came there was great fear in Raleigh that revenge would be 
taken by the soldiers upon the town, a fear that was shared by 

55Qflf. Rec., No. Ill, pp. 419-20. 67 ibid, pp. 395, 404, 432. 

66 Ibid, No. 100, p. 426. ss standard, May 3, 1865. 

59 Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, pp. 174, et seq. 


the officers.^® The guards were doubled and every precaution 
taken and no violence followed. 

There was a great deal of destitution in the city, and this 
was relieved, in part, by the action of the military authorities 
in furnishing rations to those in want. The place was crowded 
with negroes who had followed the army or come in from the 
adjoining country, and these were entirely supported by the 
rations issued. The policy was adopted of making them return 
to their homes whenever possible, but this was attended with 
great difficulty. Similar conditions, as regards both races, ex- 
isted in the other towns of the State. In Wilmington there was 
probably greater destitution. 

General Sherman was anxious to make use of the existing 
State government for the purpose of re-organization, but the 
authorities at Washington prevented him. His wish was well 
known and members of the legislature appealed to him to 
allow them to meet in Raleigh and arrange for holding a session. 
Of course this request was refused.®^ 

Early in May General Schofield succeeded him in command 
of the State. The disturbances arising from the end of the 
war and the disbandiiig of the armies were great, and his efforts 
to bring quiet at first met with very little success. Proclama- 
tions were issued announcing the definitive cessation of hostili- 
ties and, in order to remove all doubt, the freedom of the slaves. 
^^The taking of the oath of allegiance was hastened by making 
it a prerequisite for the practice of a profession or for engaging 
in any business. Nor could marriage licenses be issued until 

60 Gen. F. P. Blair, who was staying at the residence of Dr. R. B. 
Haywood, gave him a suit of his own uniform, telling him it might be 
necessary for him to become a Union general instead of a Confederate 
surgeon. It i® a matter of tradition in Raleigh that General Logan 
saved the city from being burned by stopping the soldiers who were 
coming in for the purpose. 

eiOflf. Rec, No. 100, pp. 254, 272. 

62 General Orders, Nos. 31 and 32. 


the oath had been taken by both parties.*' The towns were soon 
quiet, but the country was not. Nor were the inhabitants alto- 
gether to blame ; for the Federal troops did not soon shake off 
the habits formed during the war, and even after the proclama- 
tion of the final cessation of hostilities the plundering and wan- 
ton destruction of property continued, often accompanied by 
outrage and violence.®* This, however, was the exception, and 
not the rule. The disbanded Confederate soldiers, particularly 
the cavalry, foraged to some extent as they went home. But 
their opportunities were not so great and their sympathy, natur- 
ally, greater. 

To put an end to this condition of affairs General Schofield 
began the organization of a police force for each county,®^ de- 
tailing General J. D. Cox for the work in the western part of 
the State, General Terry for the central and Generals Hawley 
and Palmer for the eastern. They were instructed to have 
bodies of troops visit all portions of the State and arrest ma- 
rauders.®* General Schofield also had the oath of allegiance 
administered to certain magistrates of known Union sympathies 
and left them in the exercise of their functions.®^ Prompt jus- 
tice was meted out to offenders, in and out of the army, when- 
ever it was possible,®^ and whenever the troops showed disor- 
ganization they were mustered out.®® Every effort was used to 
have the restrictions on trade removed, for the commander felt 
that peace would be more quickly restored when destitution, 
resulting from the abnormal conditions, was removed, and the 
people employed in their usual occupations. He also opposed 
the rulings of the Treasury Department in regard to trade.''® 

63 General Orders, No. 62. 

64 Off. Rec, No. 100, pp. 330, et seq. Last Ninety Days of the 
War, p. 43 et seq. 

65 Off. Rec., No. 100, pp. 460, 522, et seq. 
66 General Orders, No. 35. 

67 Off. Rec., No. 100, p. 610 et »eq. 

68 Ibid, p. 470. 

69 Ibid, p. 609. 70 Ibid, p. 593. 


The delay in making known the policy of the government 
regarding re-organization of the civil government was consid- 
ered very unfortunate by General Schofield, since he was con- 
vinced that the people of the State were well disposed and were 
ready to make and accept any necessary changes.''^ For the 
re-organization he desired the appointment of a military gov- 
ernor who should declare the Constitution of the State as it 
existed previous to secession in force, and appoint officers to 
serve until the work was completed. An enrollment should 
then be made of all citizens qualified to vote by State law, after 
administration of the amnesty oath. A convention should be 
called and its action submitted to the people. He was anxious 
to be selected as military governor for North Carolina, pro- 
vided some such plan as this was adopted, but if negro suffrage 
was to be included he preferred to have no part in 't.''^ General 
I Halleck recommended him for the position but later withdrew 
his endorsement on the ground that he could not recommend 
anyone who had advised Sherman to make the terms which had 
been proposed with Johnston."'^ General Schofield's measure 
for pacification and conciliation, meanwhile, were meeting with 
such success that when he applied for leave, early in June, he 
said that the presence of troops in the State seemed almost 
unnecessary.''* His conduct of affairs met with the hearty ap- 
proval of his superiors,"'** and, in every way, he deserved and 
received the cordial gratitude of the people of the State. 

71 Off. Rec, No. 100, pp. 405, 411. 

72 Ibid., pp. 461-3. 

73 Ibid, pp. 434, 454. 

74 Ibid, p. 613. 
76 Ibid, p. 686. 




I. The Provisional Government, 

On May 9, 1865, the President summoned W. W. Holden 
to Washington for a conference. He was detained and did 
not reach there until the i8th. In the meantime D. L. Swain, 
B. F. Moore and William Eaton had also been summoned.^ In 
company with John H. Wheeler the latter were received by the 
President, who showed them the proclamation which had al- 
ready been prepared, containing the plan for the restoration of 
North Carolina. Mr. Moore at once objected and urged its 
unconstitutionality. He desired the President to allow the leg- 
islature to meet and call a convention. General Sherman had 
promised transportation for the members on the military lines 
in the State, and it could be accomplished very quickly. The 
President took the ground that the body had no legal status, 
and asked further what he could do if, after recognition by him, 
it should refuse to conform to the terms deemed necessary. 
Mr. Moore assured him that there was "no one of that body 
who might not be led back into the Union with a silken thread." 
In the discussion he grew very caustic, particularly so in stating 
his objection to the appointment of the governor by the Presi- 
dent and the calling of a convention without the intervention 
of the legislature. The President was very good-natured, but 
was unchangeable in his opinion and plan. 

The day after their interview with the President they 
returned to the White House at his invitation and found 
another party from North Carolina present. It was made up 
of those that Mr. Holden h?d brou^^ht with him.^ The Presi- 

iQff. Rec, No. 100, pp. 489. 

2 The members of the party, besides Mr. Holden, were R. P. Dick, 
Willie Jones, W. R. Richardson, J. H. P. Russ, W. S. Mason, Rev. 
Thos. Skinner, and Dr. R. J. Powell. The latter was a native of the 
State, holding a position in the Patent Office. 


dent laid before them the amnesty proclamation and the North 
Carolina proclamation, leaving ]Dlank in the latter the name of 
the provisional governor, saying that he would appoint the 
person they should nominate. Moore, Swain and Eaton de- 
clined to take any part in the proceedings and left the room as 
did the President. Mr. Holden's name was inserted by those 
remaining and the President, on his return, expressed himself 
as much gratified at their choice and duly made the appoint- 

It is an interesting speculation as to who would have been 
appointed by President Lincoln. The North Carolina proclam- 
ation had been prepared the day of his assassination,* and it 
is, at least, likely that he had some one in mind for the posi- 
tion. It is hardly likely that it would have been Mr. Holden.'^ 
His appointment was the one that President Jofinson would 
have been expected to make, for there was much to make him 
appear to the President the most suitable man for the position. 
Between Johnson and Holden there was the bond of like social 
origin and like political opinions in the past, and this fact 
coupled with their old friendship and communication during 
the war makes it probable that Holden was the choice of the 
President and that his nomination by the committee was only a 
matter of form. At any rate it was certain that the members 
of the delegation selected with three exceptions by Mr. Holden, 
would choose him. 

3 The account of the interviews with the President is in Wheeler's 
Reminiscences, p. 60 et seq. It is interesting to know that among 
the candidates for provisional governor was George W. Kirk, already 
notorious for his part in the border warfare in the West, and destined 
to bocome ag.ain famous, or rather infamous, in the Reconstruction 
history of the State. Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, p. 229. 

4 McCulloch, Men and Measures of Half a Century, p. 378. 

5 The late D. F. Caldwell, of Guilford, stated that he had authorita- 
tive information that President Lincoln had considered his name and 
that of Jonathan Worth, and had finally decided upon the latter for the 
position. The author has been unable to find any other evidence sub- 
stantiating this or, in fact, any contradicting it. 


President Johnson, formally, began his policy of reconstruc- 
tion on May 29th by issuing a proclamation granting general 
amnesty and pardon to those who had been engaged in rebellion 
against the authority of the United States. I'his restored rights 
of property except in slaves and except when legal proceedings 
for confiscation had been instituted. An oath was provided to 
be taken by all accepting the benefits of the proclamation. It 
was as follows: "I. . . .do solemnly swear, (or affirm), in the 
presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully sup- 
port, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States 
and the Union of the States thereunder ; and that I will in like 
manner abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclama- 
tions which have been made during the existing rebellion with 
reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God." 
Fourteen classes of persons were excepted from the benefits of 
this proclamation. These included the executive and diplomatic 
officers of the Confederacy, those who left the service of the 
United States to aid the Confederacy, the governors of the 
States in insurrection, all military and naval officers in the Con- 
federate service whose rank was above that of colonel and lieu- 
tenant, respectively, and all who voluntarily took part in rebel- 
lion whose taxable property exceeded in value $20,000. Any 
person belonging to an excepted class could make application 
to the President for a special pardon, and a promise of liberal 
executive clemency was extended. The Secretary of State was 
directed to establish rules for the administration of the oath. 

The same day the President issued another proclamation ap- 
pointing William W. Holden provisional governor of North 
Carolina. This was the first of a series of similar proclama- 
tions for the other Southern States. It was based upon the war 
power of the President as commander-in-chief. It gave the 
provisional governor so appointed power to prescribe the neces- 
sary rules for calling and assembling a convention whose dele- 


gates should be chosen by the portion of the population that 
was loyal to the United States at that time when it should be 
called. This convention was given authority to exercise all 
powers necessary to restore the State to her constitutional rela- 
tions with the Federal government, and present such a Republi- 
can form of government as would entitle the State to the guar- 
antee of the United States against invasion, insurrection and 
domestic violence. It was directed to prescribe qualifications 
for electors and for hold-ers of office. The proclamation itself 
prescribed as qualifications for electors and delegates to the con- 
vention that they should have taken the amnesty oath as pro- 
vided in the President's proclamation, and that they should be 
voters qualified by the State Constitution in force previous to 
May 20, 1861. All persons in the military and naval service 
were directed to aid the provisional governor and enjoined from 
hindering and discouraging the loyal people from organizing 
a State government. The Secretary of State was directed to 
put in force in the State the laws of the United States, the 
administration of which belonged to his department. The Sec- 
retary of the Treasury was instructed to nominate officials and 
put in execution the revenue laws. The postmaster-general was 
directed to establish post-offices and post routes and put th6 
postal laws in execution. The district judge was directed to 
hold courts within the State, and the attorney-general was in- 
structed to enforce, through the proper officers, the administra- 
tion of justice in all matters within the jurisdiction of the Fed- 
eral courts, and to libel and bring to judgment, confiscation 
and sale all property subject to confiscation. The heads of the 
departments of the Navy and Interior were given instructions 
similar to the others. 

Secretary Seward formally notified Governor Holden of his 
appointment the same day the proclamation was issued. For 
some reason he was not required to take the "iron-clad" oath as 
were the other provisional governors. The appointment was 

re;construction in north Carolina. 103 

announced to the State through the Standard 3l week later, and, 
at the same time, Mr. Holden retired from the nominal editorial 
control of the paper. 

As might be imagined the appointment was not received in 
the State with unmixed gratification. It had been the hope of 
the majority that some man might be chosen who was without 
the bitter enmity of so large a proportion of the people. But 
after it was a settled fact there seems to have been a general 
disposition to give Holden a fair chance, both from a desire to 
support the President and from policy. But though the feeling 
against him was hidden, it was no less intense. 

On June 12th Governor Holden issued a proclamation which 
had first been submitted to the President for approval. After 
a summary of the President's North Carolina proclamation the 
governor outlined his policy. He stated that a call would soon 
be issued for a convention of the people, which would provide 
for the election of a governor and legislature. That the lat- 
ter would elect two United States Senators, and a general elec- 
tion would also be held for members of Congress. He an- 
nounced that, in conformity with the rules established by Sec- 
retary Seward, he would appoint justices of the peace to ad- 
minister the amnesty oath, and through subordinates hold the 
election for delegates to the convention. These justices would 
be further authorized to hold county courts and appoint sheriffs 
and clerks. Other necessary officers would be appointed by 
the provisional governor to serve until the meeting of the con- 
vention. He invited the loyal people of the State to assist him 
by taking an interest in public affairs, by discouraging disloyal 
sentiment, and by electing to office f riend-s of the Federal gov- 
ernment. He devoted some space to violent abuse of the Con- 
federate government, congratulating the people on their deliver- 
ance from it. The latter part of the proclamation contained 
good and kindly advice to the colored people of the State, 
with a promise of assistance from the government and the peo- 


pie wherever it was deserved. He closed with a declaration of 
"charity for all, with malice towards none." 

Beginning soon after the close of hostilities a series of Union 
meetings were held in the State. Of these there were two dis- 
tinct types. In one class, which was numerically the smaller, 
there was manifested an inclination to win favor at the North 
by violent abuse of the Confederacy and its leaders, in oblivion, 
apparently, of the fact that four years before many, if not the 
majority, of those who prompted this policy had been enthusi- 
astic members of the "last man and last dollar" party. The 
majority of the meetings, however, passed resolutions simply 
acknowledging that the war had been a failure, expressing 
gratification at the return of peace, and declaring a desire to 
return to full allegiance to the United States. 

Governor Holden moved very slowly and carefully in carry- 
ing out the work of re-organization. This was made necessary 
by the duties of his position which, at the time, were enormously 
increased by the thousands of applications for pardon and by 
the necessity of appointing magistrates and other officers. The 
delay in calling a convention caused extreme dissatisfaction in 
the State, and criticism, which was hardly just, followed. 

The governor's action regarding pardons admitted of and 
caused better-founded criticism. He recommended the pardon 
of a large number of original secessionists and war men, and 
advised the suspension of the pardon of such men as William 
A. Graham, John A. Gilmer, Josiah Turner, John M. More- 
head and many others who had striven against secession and 
for the Union until hostilities had actually commenced. This, 
naturally, gave great offense to the latter and their friends. 
No other adequate reason than personal prejudice can be found 
for this action.® In spite of his recommendation to the con- 

6 In his unpublished memoirs, written many years afterwards, Gov. 
Holden said it was to protect the President from pardoning too many 
prominent "rebels," and because he thought Graham and Turner were 
not sufficiently in sympathy with him. 


trary a pardon was granted to ex-Gk)vernor Bragg."' Ex-Gov- 
ernor Clark made application for pardon and was told by Gov- 
ernor Holden that he would oppose its being granted, as he 
would, under no circumstances, recommend or approve Vance's 
pardon, and if he should make any discrimination it would give 
Vance's friends ground for attacking him. The application 
was never forwarded to Washington, and was found in the 
office by Governor Worth during the following winter.® In 
other ways not calculated to win friends Governor Holden 
used the power he had in obtaining pardons.® 

To assist him in communicating with the President Governor 
Holden appointed Dr. R. J. Powell agent of the State in Wash- 
ington. Through him the president was informed of the gov- 
ernor's opinion of the various petitioners apart from his formal 
endorsement. All the applications were referred by the Presi- 
dent to the attorney-general for investigation.^® On several 
occasions pardons were issued without the approval of Gov- 
ernor Holden. Mr. George Mordecai and Dr. W. G. Hawkins, 
both prominent in Raleigh in a business way, went to Wash- 
ington and were unable to find any trace of their applications 
for pardon in Mr. Speed's office. At his suggestion they filed 

7 Trinity College Historical Papers, Series HI, pp. 103-5. 

8 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. I, pp. 234-5. 

• The following correspondence gives an example of this: 

"Weldon, N. C, Sept. 18, 1865. 
To Mr. Hanes, 

Secretary to Governor Holden. 
Why have I not been pardoned as well as John B. Odom, J. W. New- 
son, Samuel Calvert, and others? THOS. I. PERSON. 

"Raleigh, September, 18, 1865. 
To Thos. I. Person, Weldon, N. C. 

Sir: — ^Your despatch received. The governor instructs me to say 
that Mr. Odom's pardon has not been received but will be received in 
time for him to take his seat in the convention . Also that the pardon 
of those who may take part against Mr. Odom and Dr. Barrow for the 
CO -vention in Northampton will be delayed. L. HANES, 

Private Secretary." 

10 Record of the Provisional Governor, p. 123. 


new ones which the President signed. Governor Holden had 
advised suspension of pardon in their case and he at once com- 
plained to the President, who declined to revoke their pardons, 
but notified him through Dr. Powell that he might tax them 
for their pardon as he saw fit.^^ Governor Holden, however, 
took no action of the kind, but wrote that he was losing ground 
because pardons were granted for personal reasons when those 
recommended by him were not acted on.^^ By June 27, 1866, 
pardons had been issued to citizens of North Carolina to the 
number of 191 2. Of these 1450 bore the recommendation of 
Governor Holden and 419 of Governor Worth. Most of the 
latter were made before Governor Worth took office. It is im- 
possible to ascertain how large a number of persons belonged to 
the classes excepted by the President's proclamation. Over two 
thousand applications for pardon were forwarded to Wash- 
ington, but there were many in the excepted classes who did 
not apply. Of the pardons issued 815 were granted to Con- 
federate postmasters, many of whom had been United States 
postmasters prior to 186 1. 510 came under the thirteenth ex- 
ception, that is, were worth more than $20,000. The remainder 
of the pardons in the main were granted to Confederate army 
officers above the rank of colonel, tax assessors, mail contrac- 
tors and carriers, members of the legislature and a variety of 
minor officers. A few who had held high office received par- 
dons and the circumstances under which some were granted are 
interesting. John A. Gilmer was recommended by a number of 
his former colleagues in the 36th Congress and by several army 
officers stationed in North Carolina, including General J. D. 
Cox. J. C. Washington, who had been a member of the seces- 
sion convention, was recommended by Mr. Speed, the attorney- 
general, on condition that he should arrange with the freedmen 
on his land in a manner satisfactory to the Freedmen's Bureau. 

11 Dr. Powell wrote Gov. Holden that they had been obtained by a 
pardon broker who was a cousin of the attorney-general. 

12 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p. 61. 


William A. Graham's pardon was granted, in spite of Governor 
Holden's request to the contrary, on the recommendation of 
thirty-eight members of the State Senate and forty-three mem- 
bers of the House/^ 

By the end of July Governor Holden had appointed over 
three thousand magistrates. He had also appointed mayors and 
commissioners for the towns.^* His effort was to fill all these 
places with Union men. In one instance he declared the action 
of a county court null and void because, in the past, the county 
officers appointed by it had been disloyal to the United States. 
He ordered a new election of officers, appointing at the same 
time new magistrates, until there was a working majority of 
those of whose opinions he could be certain.^'' In another case 
he revoked the commissions of certain magistrates against 
whom objections were raised. In the same period appoint- 
ments were made of directors and proxies for the various cor- 
porations in which the State had an interest, and of judges and 
solicitors of the State courts. In almost every instance the ap- 
pointees had originally been Whigs. R. P. Dick was the only 
Democrat chosen to a high position. He had been appointed 
a Federal judge by the President soon after the establishment 
of the provisional government, but could not take the oath re- 
quired by law,^* and after two months' waiting for the repeal of 
the law, resigned and was made a provisional judge. George 
W. Brooks was then appointed and qualified. 

About this time^^ charges were made at the North that Union 
men were ignored in the appointments to office made by the 
provisional governors. The animus of these reports is easy 
to perceive and was recognized at the time. Ground was given 
for them regarding North Carolina by the Progress, which for 

IS House Ex. Docs., No. 32, 1st Sess. 40th C5ong. 

14 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p. 20. 

15 Record of the Provisional Governor, p. 139. 
18 Act of March 2nd, 1862. 

i7Au^arui¥t, 1865. 


a time represented the State as entirely disloyal, and also by 
the correspondence to the Northern newspapers. The latter 
painted such a lurid picture of the conditions in the State that 
suspicion was aroused as to its source. An examination made by 
Dr. Powell showed that the matter was never telegraphed from 
North Carolina as was claimed, but was probably written in 
Washington.^® In many instances allusions were made to per- 
sons as prominent in the State who were unknown there. The 
President, while not crediting the reports, notified Governor 
Holden that they were being circulated.^® Governor Holden 
was thus attacked at once on both sides, for in the State, in ad- 
dition to the m.atter of pardons, many of his appointments were 
criticised. It certainly cannot be said with justice that he was 
favorable to the former secession element, unless to those who 
had changed during the war. Publicly and in private he in- 
sisted that they must be content to follow, not lead, in the work 
of re-organization. His enforcement of the directions con- 
tained in the proclamations and orders of the President seems 
to have been careful and, on the whole, impartial. He refused 
to allow the unpardoned stockholders of the railroads to take 
part in the meetings and gave notice that, when a majority 
of the stock was controlled by such persons, the State would 
take charge of the corporation's affairs until they had been 
pardoned.^® This is a fair type of his action when questions 
of the kind had to be settled by him. 

Throughout this period the governor was giving attention to 
all the various details of State government, multiplied by the 
war and the prostration of the people resulting therefrom. 
Leaving out all question of motive or of action in certain indi- 
vidual cases, his work was well done. He was less proscriptive 
than might have been expected or, in fact, than was expected 
when he was appointed, in view of the events of the preceding 

18 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, pp. 40-2. 

19 .^en. Docs. No. 26, p. lJ3, 1st Sess. 39ti- Cong. 

20 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p . 73 . 


five years, and he showed consideration for the feelings of his 
opponents by securing Vance's release on parole on account of 
the illness of his wife, and by various other acts to which his 
kindly nature impelled him. 

Finally, on August 8th, he issued a proclamation ordering 
the election of delegates to a convention to meet October 2nd. 
Justices of the peace in every county were directed to administer 
the amnesty oath and provide for holding the election in accord- 
ance with law. By his delay in ordering the election he had 
made it possible for many to vote who, otherwise, would have 
been disqualified for lack of pardon. 

There was very little discussion during the campaign of any 
issues. The questions of secession and slavery were regarded 
as definitely settled and only the matter of the war debt re- 
mained. It was generally thought that the convention ought 
not to act upon this at all during the first session, and, beyond 
some little discussion of the matter in the newspapers, little 
was said regarding it. The Standard published during the 
campaign, under the heading "Union Landmarks," the follow- 
ing as its policy : "The prompt non-recognition of debts con- 
tracted by the State in aid of the rebellion; but an equally 
prompt determination to pay every cent of the State debt con- 
tracted previously to the war." But less than a month later it 
declared that by non-recognition it meant that the convention 
should leave the question untouched.^^ 

The quiet in politics, which had settled over the State at the 
close of hostilities, now began to be broken by disagreements 
between the Standard and the Sentinel. The latter was a paper 
established shortly before in Raleigh and edited by William E. 
Pell, a former assistant of Mr. Holden. It soon began to rep- 
resent the anti-Holden element which was beginning to appear, 
and, in fact, was in part responsible for the appearance. It en- 

21 standard, August 25, 1865. The editorial columns of this paper 
must be regarded as expressing the views of Governor Holden, as he 
controlled it actually, if not in name. 


dorsed the administration of Governor Holden until after the 
meeting of the convention, but at times criticised his actions. 
This was regarded by the Standard as amounting to treason 
and disloyalty to the United States, and it at once made charges 
that an attempt was being made to revive Confederate issues. 

The question of the eligibility of unpardoned persons to seats 
in the convention was the cause of some discussion. William 
A. Graham was the choice of Orange county but declined to 
be a candidate because he had not been pardoned, stating at 
the same time that he believed that he was eligible. Governor 
Holden appealed to the President for a decision in the matter 
and was sustained in his opinion that no person who was un- 
pardoned, and so not a voter, could qualify as a delegate. The 
President also informed him that any unpardoned person, 
elected to the convention, would be immediately pardoned upon 
his recommendation.22 

The administration of the amnesty oath and preparations for 
the election were carried on quietly with little question of any 
kind being raised. Occasionally there were complaints of par- 
tiality being shown. In Rutherford county about forty per- 
sons were not allowed to take the oath because they were 
"original war men." They went to Morganton and took it 
before the military authorities there, but were not allowed to 
vote at the election in Rutherford.^^ 

The election was held peaceably in every part of the State 
except at Concord, the county-seat of Cabarrus. General Ruger 
had given orders that on election day no soldier should visit the 
polls or even leave camp, unless summoned by the civil au- 
thorities,^* and in no instance were they required. The trouble 
at Concord was caused by the attempt of a party of intoxicated 
negroes to vote. A Union veteran, who lived in the town, fired 

•^2 Sen. Docs. No. 26, p. 223, 1st Sess. 3m;h Cong. 
28 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p . 96 . 
24 Standard, September 16, 1866. 


a pistol into the crowd of freedmen and precipitated a sharp 
little fight, which, however, had no serious results.^'^ 

Many persons who were regularly qualified, refused to take 
any part in the election on the ground that, in every case, the 
candidates were dictated. This refusal to endorse what was 
felt to be the dictation of the provisional governor showed what 
might be the attitude of the State towards him in the fall elec- 
tions after the convention should have completed the work re- 
quired of it and adjourned, leaving the government to be car- 
ried on directly by the people. 

Governor Holden was much gratified at the general result 
of the election, but greatly chagrined at the defeat of Dr. Leach 
and Chief Justice Pearson. He assured the President that the 
ultra Union men or "straitest sect'' would control in everything. 
Eleven persons who had not been pardoned were elected, but 
on his recommendation they received pardons in time to take 
their seats.^® 

2, The Convention of 1865. 

The convention thus secured by Governor Holden, in accord- 
ance with the President's directions, met in Raleigh on the ap- 
pointed day — October 2nd — and organized by unanimously 
electing Judge Edwin G. Reade president.^^ Among its mem- 
bers were few who had originally favored secession and none 
who were very prominently connected with the secession 
party. Most of them were old Whigs who, while opposed to 
secession, had submitted to the will of the majority. With 
these, and among them were many members of the peace party 
during the war. The delegates were unanimous in their desire 
to restore the State to normal relations with the Federal gov- 

25 standard, September 28, 1865. 

26 Sen. Docs. No. 26, 1st Sess. 39th Cong. 

27 An informal ballot had already been held. Nathaniel Boyden re- 
ceivejj the second largest number of votes in this. 


ing the supposed ordinance of the 20th of May, 1861, declaring 
that the same be repealed, rescinded and abrogated, and the 
said supposed ordinance is now and hath been at all times, null 
and void." 

Mr. Jones's ordinance was then tabled indefinitely without 
discussion. The following day Mr. Ferebee offered a substi- 
tute, differing in form from the draft reported tv the com- 
mitee, and, in fact, embodying a compromise between this and 
the one proposed by Mr. Jones. A sharp debate then followed. 
The opposition to the committee's draft was led by Judge 
Howard. He prefaced his speech with a declaration that he 
had voted heartily for secession but, convinced that it was a 
failure, he was ready to do all in his power to effect a restora- 
tion; that so far as the United States was concerned the ordi- 
nance of secession had always been null and void; but to the 
people of the State it was the charter under which they had 
acted and carried on a de facto government for four years, and 
he would not wrong them by taking it away. During the 
period of the war the State, sustaining its action by arms, was 
to all intents independent, with all the machinery of govern- 
ment in the full exercise of its functions. If the ordinance 
of secession had no effect, all acts in the period following were 
null and void. He denied that the military power, while sus- 
taining a theoretical independence of the State had succeeded 
in making independence actual for any period, and held that 
consequently opposition to the ordinance under discussion did 
not mean hostility to a restoration of the Union. Others op- 
posed the proposed ordinance on the ground that it was a re- 
flection on the convention of 1861, and because the convention 
was by nature a legislative body and not a judicial one.^^ 

B. F. Moore, who drew the committee's ordinance, said his 
main reason for favoring it was that through it the right of 
citizenship in the United States would be retained, and not 
otherwise. He did not believe that declaring the ordinance of 

83 Andrews, The South Since the War, pp. 144, 151. 


secession null, and void would permanently invalidate all acts 
done during the war, but said that the convention could make 
them valid by an additional ordinance.^* A great deal of feeling 
was shown in the debate by several of those favoring the com- 
mittee's ordinance. Judge Warren, who voted for the ordinance 
of secession of 1861, declared that the object of the substitute 
was to "hoodwink" the convention into an endorsement of se- 
cession.^** Mr. Phillips voiced the sentiment of a large number 
when he said that as the convention of 1861 had expressed an 
opinion one way a body of equal rank should register a counter 
opinion, and as the functions of a convention of the people in its 
sovereign capacity were both legislative and judicial, it could 
either repeal or declare null and void the acts of a former body. 
As secession was a creature of the mind and could not, in conse- 
quence, be affected by the success or failure of an army, it was 
necessary to declare against it.^® 

The substitute was rejected by a vote of 94 to 19.^^ The 
original was then put upon its second reading and passed with 
nine still voting in the negative.^® A few moments later, after 
some discussion as to whether another reading was necessary, 
it passed its third reading. Several delegates, including Judge 
Howard and Mr. McKoy, voted against it, and a still larger 
number, including Judge Manly and Mr. Ferebee, declined to 
vote.^® Secession, already dead in North Carolina for some 
time past, was legally pronounced never to have had life. 

34 Andrews, The South Since the War, pp. 150-1 . 

35 Ibid, p. 151. 

36 Ibid, p. 147. 

37 The following voted nay : Messrs . Alexander, Allen, Brown, Conig- 
land, Eaton, Faison, Ferebee, Hanrahan, Howard, Jarvis, Joyner, Ken- 
nedy, Manly, McKoy, Mclver, Mebane, Murphy, Ward, Winborae, and 

38 These were Messrs . Allen, Faison, Ferebee, Howard, Joyner, Manly. 
McKoy, Murphy and Ward. 

89 Judge Howard relates that Judge Manly and Mr. Ferebee were 
about to leave the hall before the vote, but stayed with him. Mr. 


On October 5th Mr. Settle reported an ordinance forever 
prohibiting slavery in the State. A few of the members at- 
tempted to have the cause of its abolition inserted as a pre- 
amble, but the plan failed and, two days later, the ordinance 
was passed unanimously.*^ It was then provided that both or- 
dinances should be submitted separately to the people at the 
next election.*^ An amendment was offered to this providing 
that the people should vote on the question in the words "Se- 
cession" or "No Secession" and "Slavery" or "No Slavery." 
This was purely for political purposes and was resented by 
those who had opposed the anti-secession ordinance. Judge 
Howard, in opposing the amendment, attacked bitterly those 
who never spoke or acted for the Union until the Confederacy 
fell and then became proscriptive and vindictive.*^ This was 
aimed at several of the members of the convention and was 
applicable to many more.*^ 

The two great objects of the convention were thus accom- 
plished. There still remained other matters of importance, 
mainly internal in their nature. These were settled in the next 
few days by the passage of various ordinances. The election 
of State and county officers and also of a General Assembly 
and members of Congress was provided for.** To remove 
doubts as to the validity of official acts after May 20, 1861, all 
laws consistent with the State and Federal constitutioris were 
declared in full force. Judicial proceedings were also held 

Settle was standing in the aisle and suggested a third reading. He 
turned to Judge Howard and said, "Howard, let it be unanimous. You 
have already voted." Judge Howard replied with emphasis, "I'll see 
you first." 

40 Journal, p. 28. 

41 Ordinances, p. 46. 

42 Sentinel, October 25, 1865. 

43 Mr. Andrews, in his South Since the War, declares that he found 
in the convention much hatred of secession and secessionists, but that 
it was from political feeling and not from love of the Union, p. 136. 

44 Ordinances, p. 42. 


valid and contracts declared binding. In relation to the latter 
it was made the duty of the General Assembly to provide a 
scale of depreciation of the currency from the first issue until 
the end of the war, and all contracts were to be deemed solv- 
able on that basis, unless evidence was produced of a contrary 
intention at the time the contract was made. All acts of civil 
and military officers of the State or of the Confederate States, 
in accordance with law, were declared valid, and such officers 
were relieved of any penalty for their actions. The acts of the 
provisional governor and his agents were made valid, and it 
was provided that all offices created by him should become 
vacant at the close of the next session of the General As- 
sembly.*'^ Offices whose incumbents took the oath of allegi- 
ance to the Confederate States, were declared vacant.** This 
produced some debate, as, by a decision of the Supreme Court 
of North Carolina, it had been held that the holder of an office 
had a right of property therein.*^ But it was argued that a 
convention was bound only by the Constitution of the United 
States, and the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United 
States on the question differed from that of the State court.*® 

The State was divided into seven congressional districts in 
preparation for the coming election. Provision was made for 
the organization of a military police in every county if it should 
be thought necessary by the sheriff and magistrates. The 
necessity for this action was strongly urged by Mr. Ferebee and 
Mr. Dockery, who stated that the white people were unarmed 
and in a constant state of uneasiness at the presence of many 
strange negroes, the majority of whom were armed.*® Some 
doubt was expressed as to the wisdom of attempting such a 
thing while the State was under martial law. It was stated, 

45 Ordinances, p . 58 . 

46 Ibid, p. 63. 

47 Hoke V. Henderson, 15 N. C, 1. 

48 Butler V. Pennsylvania, 10 Howard, 402. 
40 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1865, p. 627. 


however, that General Ruger was heartily in favor of it and 
attention was called to the President's approval of Governor 
Sharkey's establishment of a militia in Mississippi. This re- 
moved all opposition and secured the unanimous passage of the 
ordinance. The President was requested to withdraw all col- 
ored troops from the State as unnecessary and dangerous.**® He 
was also requested to proclaim speedily a general amnesty,**^ and 
to proclaim that the people of North Carolina were restored to 
their rights and privileges under the Constitution and in the 
Union.**^ Congress was requested to repeal the "iron-clad" 
oath.**^ Provision was made for revenue in 1866 by the pas- 
sage of an ordinance providing for an extensive system of tax- 
tion.*** Governor Holden was requested to confer with General 
Ruger and secure to the people the broken-down horses and 
mules which had been left by the Federal troops in exchange 
for those taken away.**** In order to define the status of the 
freedmen the governor was instructed to appoint a commis- 
sion of three persons to prepare and report to the next General 
Assembly a system, of laws relating to the freedmen and to 
indicate what laws then in force should be repealed.*** 

The only matter of importance remaining, upon which the 
convention was likely to take any action, was the State debt. 
As has been seen,°^ it had not been the subject of much discus- 
sion during the period preceding the meeting of the conven- 
tion. When the convention met, a committee was appointed 
to consider the subject. October loth, Mr. Winston from 
the committee reported that they had been able to discover no 
difference of opinion on the question of the old debt, all agree- 
ing that it should be paid. But in view of the fact that there 
was a great diversity of opinion regarding the debt incurred 
since May 20th, 1861, and, since the information in the hands 

50 Ordinances, p. 69. 54 ibid, p. 48. 

51 Ibid, p. 67. 55 Ibid, p. 74. 
62 Ibid, p. 74. 56 Ibid, p. 73. 

53 Ibid, p. 70. 57 See page 107, preceding. 


of the committee as to the purpose of a large part of it was 
very meagre, they recommended an adjourned session and 
that no action should be taken at the time.**^ Mr. Settle at 
once introduced a resolution prohibiting the assumption of 
the war debt. He said that, while there had been little or no 
discussion of the matter before the election, he believed the 
minds of the people were made up and that they wanted the 
thing settled finally. He was strongly opposed by D. F. Cald- 
well and Edward Conigland, who represented the element 
favoring the payment of the entire debt. A combination of 
this element with the members who preferred longer discus- 
sion and a delay until the adjourned session, resulted in the 
tabling of Mr. Settle's resolution.*^® This action was in part 
due to a letter from Dr. Powell, the State agent, to Governor 
Holden, in which an account was given of separate conversa- 
tions with every member of the Cabinet. Secretary Stanton 
declined to discuss the subject, but all the rest agreed that the 
convention ought not to take any action, at the time, in regard 
to the debt. This letter was circulated and read by the major- 
ity of the members of the convention.®^ 

The matter seemed settled and, so far as can be judged from 
the press, the people approved. But a surprise was in store 
for the State and the convention, though not for certain indi- 
viduals. Governor Holden, who had apparently favored the 
tabling of Settle's resolution, either changed his mind or be- 
came aware that his views were not in accord with those of 
the President. So he telegraphed the latter as follows : 

"Raleigh, October 19, 1865. 

Sir: — Contrary to my expectation, the convention has in- 
volved itself in a bitter discussion of the State debt made in 
aid of the rebellion. A continuance of this discussion will 
greatly excite the people and retard the work of reconstruc- 

58 standard, Oct. 11, 1865. 

59 October 13, 1865. 

60 Jonathan Worth to the Editor of the Sentinel, Oct. 30, 1865. 


tion. Our people are believed to be against assuming the 
debt by a large majority. Is it not advisable that our Conven- 
tion, like that of Alabama, should positively ignore this debt 
now and forever? Please answer at once. 

W. W. H0LDEN."«^ 

So far as this implied that the bitter discussion had occupied 
the formal proceedings of the convention, it was untrue. The 
whole matter had been tabled on the 13th with no prospect of 
further action being taken during the session. The discussion 
had never been bitter and had been very brief. The next day 
Governor Holden sent to the convention the President's reply, 

"Washington City, October 18, 1865. 
W. W. Holden, Provisional Governor: 

Every dollar of the State debt, created to aid the rebellion 
against the United States, should be repudiated, finally and 
forever. The great mass of the people should not be taxed to 
pay a debt to aid in carrying on a rebellion which they, in fact, 
if left to themselves, were opposed to. Let those who have 
given their means for the obligations of the State, look to that 
power they tried to establish in violation of law, Constitution, 
and the will of the people. They must meet their fate. It is 
their misfortune and they cannot be recognized by the people of 
any State professing themselves loyal to the government of 
the United States in the Union. 

I repeat, that the loyal people of North Carolina should be 
exonerated from the payment of every dollar of Indebtedness 
created to aid in carrying on the rebellion. I trust and hope 
that the people of North Carolina will wash their hands of 
everything that partakes in the slightest degree of the rebel- 
lion which has been so recently crushed by the strong ann of 
the government in carrying out the obligations imposed by tfie 
Constitution of the Union. Andrew Johnson, 

President United States/'^^ 

This telegram changed the sentiment of the convention. 
Mr. Caldwell said his opinion was changed by the knowledge 

81 Sentinel, March 3, 1866. Quoted from Senate Documents. 

82 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p. 83. 


of the President's desire and that he favored immediate repu- 
diation. Mr. Moore, who had taken little part in the debate 
before, now became vehement in his opposition to imme- 
diate action. He opposed any acceptance of dictation from 
the President and criticised him sharply for sending the mes- 
sage. Mr. Brooks made a long and rather bitter speech, 
favoring repudiation on the ground that, as the object of the 
debt had been "the persecution of loyal persons," they should 
not be forced to bear the burden. ^^ Mr..Grissom, a close friend 
of Governor Holden, then moved an amendment to Mr. Settle's 
resolution, providing for submitting the matter to the people. 
This was passed,®* but later reconsidered and, the convention 
deciding not to put the burden of decision on the people, was 
rejected. Mr. Settle's resolution was then passed.®*^ A pro- 
test against its passage was made by Mr. Eaton, who was 
joined in it by ten others. The ordinance imposed upon the 
General Assembly the duty of providing, as soon as practi- 
cable, for the payment of the State debt not incurred in aid of 
the war. It further declared all debts and obligations created 
in direct or indirect aid of the rebellion void, and removed 
from the General Assembly all po\^er to provi3e for their pay- 
ment.®® President Johnson was notified of the convention's 
action by Governor Holden in the following letter: 

"Raleigh, October 20, 1865. 
The President of the United States: 

Sir: — The convention has adjourned. It has promptly re- 
pudiated every dollar of the rebel debt and bound all future 
legislatures not to pay any of it. Your telegram had a most 
happy effect. The Worth faction is working hard, but will 
be defeated by a large majority. Turner and other contuma- 
cious leaders ought to be handled at the proper time. Please 
pardon no leading man unless you hear from me. 

W. W. Holden." 

63 Sentinel, Oct. 20, 1865. «5 Ibid, p. 92. 

64 Journal, p. 90. 6« Ordinances, p. 66. 


After passing a resolution of thanks to President Johnson 
and Governor Holden for their endeavors toward a restoration 
of the State to its rights in the Union, the convention ad- 
journed until May 24th, 1866. 

The action of Governor Holden and the President was re- 
sented deeply in the State. This feeling was independent, in 
many cases, of opinion regarding repudiation. The Sentinel 
voiced it as follows : "One of the last acts of the convention, 
and certainly the most humiliating act ever performed by a 
body claiming to be the embodiment of the sovereignty of the 
people of a State, and ever put upon record, was the passage 
of the ordinance repudiating for all time the war debt of the 

The ordinances and resolutions passed by the convention 
were carried to Washington by a committee headed by Judge 
Reade and submitted to the President for his approval.®* 

3. The Campaign and Election of 1865. 

On October 14th, a letter, signed by fifty-three members of 
the convention, was sent to Governor Holden, requesting him 
to be a candidate for Governor at the approaching election. 
He replied in a somewhat fulsome manner, accepting the nomi- 
nation but declaring that he had not sought it. He entered 
into a criticism of party spirit, declaring that faction was the 
bane of the country. He said that as provisional governor he 
had known no party, but for the future, he was a member of 
the National Union Party with Andrew Johnson at its head. 

It was recognized generally that he had endeavored during 
the whole period of his incumbency of the office of provisional 
governor to build up a machine in his own interest,®® but many 

«7 Sentinel, Oct. 26, 1865. 

68 Ibid, Nov. 18, 1865. The Sentinel was strongly in favor of paying 
the debt. 

69 Testimony of Rev. Hope Bain, Reports of Committees, part 2, p. 
206, 39th Cong., 1st Sess. 


of his political associates were content to follow his lead and 
nominate him. Many, however, revolted and refused to give 
him their support. Lewis Hanes, his private secretary, who 
had been a staunch ally in the peace movement during the war, 
was among these. Defining his position, he said, "I believe 
that in everything he [Governor Holden] did, he kept con- 
stantly in view no object but his own political advancement."^® 
The announcement of Governor Holden's candidacy was not 
made until October i8th, when the correspondence with the 
members of the convention was published. In the mean- 
time, sixty-seven members of the convention, who had de- 
clined to join in the request that Governor Holden should be 
a candidate, looked about for some one on whom the opposition 
could join. The name of Jonathan Worth had been suggested 
during the summer and now recurred.^^ He had won golden 
opinions for his skilful management of the business affairs of 
the State, and his past record made him eminently suitable as 
a candidate. Many of those who had joined in the call on 
Governor Holden favored Mr. Worth, but had been induced 
to sign by the representation that he would not be a candidate. 
Others were known to have signed only because they were 
under such obligations to Governor, Holden for their pardons 
and for various political favors that they felt bound to support 
him.^^ Under such circumstances, Mr.. Worth was urged to 
allow the use of his name and finally, with great reluctance, 
consented. Many of his friends believed that there was no 
hope of his election and he, himself, was very doubtful at first. 
Others thought it unwise to oppose Mr. Holden. Mr. Worth, 
however, was convinced that Mr. Holden was not a suitable 
candidate on account of the dislike he inspired in so many of the 
people, and soon felt fairly confident of success. His candi- 

70 Old North State quoted in Standard, July 18, 1866. 

71 William A. Graham and Josiah Turner were prominent in the move- 
ment which resulted in Worth's nomination. 

72 Worth Letters (unpublished). ** 


dacy was announced before Governor Holden's, and he had 
the advantage, if there was any, of being the first in the field. 
He at once resigned his place as provisional treasurer, ex- 
pressing his willingness, if Governor Holden should so desire, 
to continue in the performance of its duties until the election.'^* 
The resignation, however, was accepted and Dr. William Sloan, 
of Gaston, was appointed to succeed him. 

About the same time candidates for Congress were an- 
nounced. Twenty-three aspirants for the seven seats ap- 
peared. The active work of the campaign was carried on by 
them, for neither of the gubernatorial candidates took part in 
the canvass. The usual newspaper battle commenced, and the 
c^eneral line of party division beginning at this time has con- 
tinued ever since. Political peace, or a semblance of it, was 
to be absent for at least twenty years. Mr. Worth was at 
once attacked by the Standard, first with ridicule,^* and then, as 
the growth of Opinion in his favor became more evident, with 
violent abuse. He was attacked because, in 1861, he had op- 
posed the "stay law/' Josiah Turner, who was a candidate 
for Congress, although as yet unpardoned, had for years been 
closely associated with Mr. Worth and was included in the 
attacks. The two were accused of being the representatives of 
a faction of "place hunters,"^^ and not only of being the can- 
didates of the "Confederate" party, but even of having been 
original secessionists. In proof of the accusation, the decla- 
ration of independence, which Mr. Turner had introduced in 
the Senate in 1861,^^ and for which Mr. Worth and every 
Union man in that body had voted in order to provoke the seces- 

73 Worth to Holden, Oct. 18, 1865. 

74 The Standard said the nomination was a "bait composed of old 
secession hooks dressed up in the feathers of a few Union geese." 

75 Among these were included Thos. Bragg, Judge Manly, P. H. Win- 
ston, Judge Howard, T. L. Clingman, Abram Venable, and D. D. Fere- 
bee. Standard, Oct. 24, 1866. 

76 See p. WL preceding. 


sionists, was brought forward and urged as conclusive evidence. 
^^The prospects of the State for readmission to the Union, it 
was was declared, would be entirely destroyed if Worth should 
be elected, and the issue was defined as, "W. W. Holden and Go 
Back to the Union, or Jonathan Worth and Stay Out of the 
Union. Or, in other words, Holden and live again under 
Washington's government, or Jonathan Worth and perish."^* 
This gave Mr. Worth much uneasiness and he appealed to 
friends in Washington to try and find means to dispel the im- 
pression which was being created by the friends of Mr. Hol- 
den that the President preferred his election.^^ Mr. Worth's 
position regarding the war debt was criticised, regardless of 
the fact that, almost until the adjournment of the convention. 
Governor Holden held a similar opinion. It was stated that, 
in the event of Worth's election, the convention would reas- 
semble and, in defiance of the expressed wish of the President, 
assume the entire war debt of the State and crush the people 
under the burden of an immense taxation, besides bringing the 
State into conflict with the authorities of the United States 
and having martial law under negro troops prolonged indefi- 
nitely.®** Governor Holden's record was enlarged upon, par- 
ticular emphasis being laid on his hostility to the Confederate 
government and his part in the peace movement. 

It is not doubtful that many of these arguments had a 
boomerang effect. The people in general, while uncertain 
what they wished regarding the final disposition of the war 
debt, were at least certain that they wanted the matter con- 

77 standard, Oct. 24, 1865. 

78 Ibid, Oct. 21, 1865. 

7& Worth to B. S. Hedrick, Oct. 21, 1865. Mr. Hedrick had been a 
professor at the University of North Carolina and had been forced to 
leave on account of his being in favor of Fremont in 1856. This was 
largely through the influence of Mr. Holden, and Mr. Hedrick, in con- 
sequence, had no good feeling for him. 

80 Standard, Oct. 21, 23, and 24, 1865. 


sidered from every standpoint. The President's action in 
forcing repudiation was resented and the burden of this fell 
upon Governor Holden because, after acquiescing in the policy 
of postponement of the question, he had brought the matter to 
the notice of the President and, was, to that extent, responsible 
for repudiation. As regards Governor Holden's record, it was 
a delicate matter, and bringing it up showed a lack of political 
sagacity. It cannot be doubted that, at this time. North Caro- 
lina was honestly desirous of a return to the Union where 
peace could be found. The purpose to remain loyal to the 
Union in the future is equally certain. The utter failure of 
secession was recognized and fewer mourned it than might 
have been expected. But there was little or no change of 
opinion on the question of the right involved. It could hardly 
be expected that such a change would occur, but it was de- 
manded: in the State by the **straitest sect" element, and in 
the North by the radicals. It would have been a wonderful 
thing, in view of his past record, if Mr. Holden had had the 
love, respect, or confidence of the people of North Carolina in 
1865, even if his record since the war had been left out of the ac- 
count. The great marvel was that the feeling against him 
remained quiet as long as it did. Only the course of the 
Standard was necessary to arouse it and insure his defeat. 

The opposition to him was to an extent based on his past 
record, and his numerous changes of political affiliations were 
once more brought up against him. But the main fight was 
made on his action as provisional governor and the claim that 
his election was a prerequisite for the return of the State to its 
normal place in the Union. As the campaign progressed, the 
Standard and the Progress began to charge that all opposition 
to Governor Holden was an evidence of disloyalty. This 
course of action was sharply criticised by the rest of the State 
press, even by the papers supporting Governor Holden. The 
Charlotte Times, which supported Mr. Worth, said, "Vote for 
Holden and be loyal, and vote against him and be a traitor. 


That is the English of it. And if that is to be the test, then 
we are a traitor and glory in the treason. As a provisional 
governor, we have not aught to say against him, but as a 
politician, we are against him, and if chance should throw us 
on the same side with him, it would make us question the cor- 
rectness of our view."®^ Still another cause of opposition, 
brought forward by the Sentinel, was the necessity of bringing 
out a full vote as an assurance of the loyalty of the people of 
the State, and as a sign of their acceptance of the terms of 
reconstruction; and it was thought that, if Governor Holden 
should run alone, it would be regarded by the people as dic- 
tated from Washington .and they would not care to vote.®^ 
This was a weak reason and yet the condition stated was 
actual, as is shown by the voting for delegates to the conven- 
tion. There a great many failed to vote from the very belief 
mentioned here. 

Mr. Holden had the support of a more influential and repre- 
sentative class of men than in 1864. John Pool, R. S. Don- 
nell, Bedford Brown, and Thomas Settle signed the request 
that he should be a candidate. B. F. Moore, desiring that no 
party division should occur, was in favor of his election," if he 
continues to exercise the office as heretofore and if his pro- 
gramme of principles and measures should not be very objec- 
tionable."®^ Many others of the same type would have sup- 
ported him but for the violence and the proscriptive tendency 
of the Standard. 

81 Quoted in the Sentinel,. Nov. 22, 1865. 

82 Ibid, Oct. 19, 1865. 

83 B. F. Moore to T. R. Caldwell, Oct. 14, 1866. Illustrative of Mr. 
Moore's foresight, the following is interesting: "A division, placing the 
Unionists on one side and the secessionists on the other, will lead to a 
breach made wider and deeper every day, until the ©xtremest partizan 
on either side will become the most powerful man of his party, and the 
most dangerous to the quiet and prosperity of the State. With such 
tools as these, we shall be sure to dig up negro suffrage and worship it 
as many did the cotton bag." 


The number of Congressional candidates was lessened by the 
withdrawal of several before election day. In the campaign, 
no mention seems to have been made of the two ordinances 
submitted to the people. In fact they were not regarded as 
issues, and besides, all issues had been merged into the one 
of Mr. Holden. His suitability, politically and personally, was 
the one question to be decided. 

The election was held November 9th. Its result was a vic- 
tory for Mr. Worth, who received a majority of 5,937 out of 
a total vote of nearly 60,000, and carried fifty-four of the 
eighty-nine counties in the State. A much smaller vote was 
cast on the two ordinances, which were both ratified." The 
Congressional elections were regarded by both sides as com- 
paratively unimportant. All who were elected had originally 
opposed secession, and all but two had been Whigs. Two 
had been members of the Confederate Congress, and only 
one of the seven could take the "iron-clad" oath required for 
admission to a seat in Congress.®*^ Of the defeated candidates, 
only one could take the oath. 

Before the election. President Johnson told Judge Reade that 
the provisional government would not terminate at once. Two 
days after the election. Governor Holden was notified by Sec- 
retary Seward to continue the exercise of his duties until re- 
lieved by directions from the President. 

Many things in the campaign tended to create the impres- 
sion in the North that the result of the election was a victory 
of those who were still hostile to the United States, and who 
hoped that, in a different way than by arms, the results of the 
war might be changed. This impression was largely caused 

84 The vote on the ratification of the anti-secession ordinance was : 
For, 20,870; against, 1,983. Anti-slavery ordinance: For, 19,039; 
against, 3,970. 

85 The successful candidates were, J. R. Stubbs, C. C. Clark, T. C. 
Fuller, Josiah Turner, Bedford Brown, S. H. Walkup and A. H. Jones. 
The last mentioned could take the oath. 


by the course of the Standard and the Pro^-rc\^jr. but they met 
with assistance from other sources. The result of the Con- 
gressional elections, for instance, was not calculated to assist 
the State to its original place in the Union. The election of 
an unpardoned person, as in the case of Mr. Turner, created 
a bad impression. In fact the wnsdom of electing any of the 
delegation, except, possibly, A. H. Jones, who could take the 
oath, is doubtful, if it was hoped tliat they would be admitted 
to their seats. They were all men who favored the Union 
and who represented the opinions and feelings of the State, 
but it was fairly certain that none would be recognized when 
Congress met. The opinion of the President on the result is 
best seen in the following commimication to Ciovernor Holden : 

"Washington. November 2y, 1865. 
Accept my thanks for the noble and efficient manner in which 
you have discharged your duty as Provisional Governor. You 
will be sustained by the government. 

The results of the recent elections in North Carolina have 
greatly damaged the prospects of the State in the restoration 
of its governmental relations. Should the action and spirit of 
the legislature be in the same direction, it will greatly increase 
the mischief already done and might be fatal. 

It is hoped that the action and spirit manifested by the legis- 
lature will be so directed as rather to repair than to increase the 
difficulties under which the State has already placed itself. 

Andrew Johnson, 
President of the United States/' 

The period between the election and the meeting of the Gen- 
eral Assembly was devoid of events of interest. As long as 
something was to be gained from loyalty by the element of 
which the Progress was representative, the State had been de- 
clared to be loyal. But when the result of the election was 
known, that paper asserted that "universal loyalty may come 
with the next generation, but we who live in this will never 



see it." ®® The Standard said that the provisional governor 
was hindered in his work and that it was the "unmistakable 
work of unpardoned violent traitors."®^ The latter also di- 
lated much upon the lack of wisdom shown in electing men to 
Congress who could not take the oath, forgetful of the fact 
that it had endorsed the candidacy of five who were unable to 
do so. 

After the receipt of the President's letter requesting him to 
continue in the exercise of the duties of his office, Governor 
Holden seems to have thought that the provisional government 
would be continued until Congress had recognized the new 
State government by admitting the members from North Caro- 
lina. The people were anxious in regard to it and there was 
a general desire for some assurance from the President as to 
his intentions. 

4. The Return to Civil Government. 

The General Assembly met on November 27th.®^ In the 
Senate Thomas Settle was chosen Speaker over Dennis D. 
Ferebee. This would indicate a majority of the supporters of 
Mr. Hojden. In the House Samuel F. Phillips was chosen 

The Governor's message laid special stress on the importance 
of immediately ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment. The 
House had already taken up the matter and passed a ratifying 
resolution with only four negative votes. An attempt was 
made to amend by adding a clause stating that any legisla- 
tion by Congress upon the political status or civil relations 
of the freedmen would be unconstitutional and in opposition to 
the policy of the President, as expressed in his proclamations. 

86 Progress, Nov. 14, 1866. 

87 Standard, Nov. 17, 1865. 

88 Six members of the Senate and eight of the House were also mem- 
bers of the convention. No information can be obtained of the former 
political affiliations of the majority of the members. 


This was defeated by a large vote.®® In the Senate the opposi- 
tion to the Amendment was strongly shown. Mr. Morehead 
voiced this in declaring his objection to the clause giving Con- 
gress the power of enforcement. Through it, he thought, Con- 
gress was given unlimited power of legislation, and a State 
would be powerless to resist. The result of its adoption would 
be legislation giving the freedmen the privilege of bearing 
arms, giving testimony, intermarriage with the whites, and the 
elective franchise. He denied any desire to impede its pas- 
sage, but declined to vote for it.*® Mr. Ferebee made an elat^ 
orate protest against its passage, which was spread upon the 
Journal. His objections were based upon the same grounds as 
Mr. Morehead's and also on the fact that the Southern States 
were not free agents, advantage being taken of their condition 
to force their consent to what they would otherwise reject. 
Three other Senators united with him in the protest.®^ The 
resolution passed without further opposition. The blow at the 
rights of the States was perceived, but, just at this time, there 
was apparently very little inclination to discuss the constitu- 
tional question of States' rights. Its interest for the time had 
waned. After ratification, the subject was referred to a com- 
mittee, which reported a resolution declaring that the amend- 
ment was ratified with the understanding that the power of 
Congress to legislate on the subject of the freedmen was in no 
way enlarged.®^ This passed at the end of the session and, of 
course, was inoperative, amounting, simply, to a protest. 

The publication in the Standard of the President's criticism 
of the State's action led to the passage of resolutions declaring 
that the people of the State had accepted in good faith the 
terms of the President and had complied with the conditions 
imposed ; that they were loyal to the government of the United 

89 House Journal, 1865, p. 26. 

»o His speech is quoted in the Sentinel, Dec. 2, 1866. 

»i Senate Journal 1866, pp. 163-6. 

»2lbid., 1865,. p. 84. 


States and were ready to make any concessions, not inconsis- 
tent with their honor and safety, for a restoration of harmony. 
A declaration of confidence in the President and of thanks for 
his liberal policy was added.*^ 

The greater part of the session was spent in filling the va- 
rious offices declared vacant by the convention. Two United 
States Senators were elected, William A. Graham, and John 
Pool. The former, who had not been pardoned, received the 
unanimous vote of Orange county for the State Senate, but 
did not make any effort to take his seat. A large number of 
the members of both houses then petitioned the President to 
pardon him. The day he was elected United States Senator,** 
the pardon was signed, but it was not sent to him, nor was he 
notified of the fact for some time. Governor Holden, who, a 
short time before, had again advised against his pardon, noti- 
fied the President of his election, adding a characteristic ex- 
pression of doubt whether a Northern member of Congress 
could with propriety consent to sit with one who had been a 
member of the Confederate Congress.®^ The short term was 
offered to Mr. Holden privately, but he refused to accept it.®* 
Thomas L. Clingman, who had been elected in 1861, claimed 
the seat and went to Washington with the intention of present- 
ing himself as the member, but a committee, appointed by the 
State Senate to investigate the matter, declared that he had no 
claim to the seat, and Mr. Pool was elected. The legislature 
also elected a full set of judges. In the Supreme Court, two 
of the old members were re-elected and Judge Reade replaced 
Judge Manly. Five of the provisional Superior Court judges 
and several of the solicitors, appointed by Governor Holden, 
were elected permanently. Nearly all the officers chosen had 
been formerly members of the Whig party. 

03 Resolutions 1865, p. 10. 

»4 0nly fourteen votes in both houses were cast against Mr. Graham. 

OR Sen. Docs. No. 26, p. 228, 1st Sess. 39th Cong. 

»6 Sentinel, Sept. 15, 1865. 


No disposition was shown to take up general legislative mat- 
ters. The members felt that there was no assurance that any 
act would be regarded as valid, and considered it wise to await 
the outcome of the attempt of the representatives-elect to take 
their seats in Congress. Consequently, after filling the vacant 
State offices and administering the oath of office to Mr. Worth, 
the governor-elect, with a provision that he should enter upon 
the duties of the office at the termination of the provisional 
government, the legislature adjourned until February, 1866, 
without taking any action regarding the freedmen or other 
matters of importance. 

Governor Holden kept the President informed of the actions 
of the legislature, everything being presented in its worst 
light. He also made a strong effort to induce the President to 
set aside the election and retain him as provisional governor.®^ 
The President would not consent to this, and finally, on Decem- 
ber 23d, sent, through Secretary Seward, the following dis- 
patch to Governor Holden: 

"Department of State, 
Washington, December 23, 1865. 
To His Excellency, W. W. Holden, Provisional Governor of 

the State of North Carolina, Raleigh, North Carolina: 

Sir: — The time has arrived when, in the judgment of the 
President of the United States, the care and conduct of the 
proper affairs of the State of North Carolina may be remitted 
to the constitutional authorities chosen by the people thereof, 
without danger to the peace and safety of the United States. 

By direction of the President, therefore, you are relieved 
from the trust hitherto reposed in you as provisional governor 
of North Carolina. Whenever the governor-elect shall have 
accepted and become qualified to discharge the duties of the 
executive office you will transfer the papers and property of 
the State, now in your custody, to his excellency, the governor- 

It gives me especial pleasure to convey to you the Presi- 

»7 B. S. Hedrick to Jonathan Worth, July 8, 1866. 


dent's acknowledgement of the fidelity, the loyalty and the dis- 
cretion which has marked your administration. 

You will please give me a reply specifying the day on 
which this communication is received. 

I have the honor to be your excellency's most obedient ser- 

Wii^WAM H. Seward.'' •« 

He also notified Governor Worth of the termination of the 
provisional government and offered him the co-operation of 
the United States government in all his efforts toward an 
early restoration of the State. Governor Worth replied on the 
28th that he had that day assumed the duties of his office and 
assured the President of his hearty desire to establish harmoni- 
ous relations between the State and Federal governments.** 

As has been noted,^*® the convention passed an ordinance 
providing that all offices filled by the provisional governor 
should become vacant at the close of the provisional govern- 
ment. The legislature made no provision for new justices 
of the peace, and, in consequence, the newly-elected county 
officers were unable to qualify, and the machinery of county 
government was stopped, and with it, the execution of State 
law by the civil power. The unimportance of the minor civil 
officers at this time prevented this condition of affairs from 
being harmful to the general welfare of the people, but it was 
one of the anomalies which this period so frequently pre- 
sented. Governor Worth, by the advice of the Council of 
State, at once summoned' the legislature to meet in extra ses- 
sion to remedy the defect. The session opened January i8th, 
and acts were promptly passed authorizing the provisional 
officers to administer the oaths of office to their successors and 
to the magistrates elected by the legislature at the extra ses^ 
sion.^^^ The acts of the de facto sheriffs until March i, 1866, 

88 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. 1, p. 3. 
»»Ibid, pp. 2-4. 

100 See page 117 preceding; also Ordinances, p. 59. 

101 Laws, 1866, Chap. 4. 


were legalized ;^®^ and all other officers were authorized to 
hold over until the qualification of their successors.^®* 

Other questions then engaged the attention of the legisla- 
ture. The legislation regarding the freedmen occupied some 
time. The law of evidence was changed in criminal suits so 
as to admit the testimony of an accused person which up to 
this time was incompetent.^®* A resolution was introduced 
into the House requesting the President to proclaim a general 
amnesty. Immediately a substitute was offered which, after 
reciting the supposed hardships endured by Union men, de- 
clared that no office should be held by an original secessionist 
or "latter-day war man," and requesting the President to 
declare all offices so held vacant. To avoid discussion of this, 
the original resolution was dropped. The session lasted until 
the middle of March, most of the time being spent in private 

102 Laws, 1866, Chap. 6. 
108 Ibid, Chap. 36. 
104 Ibid, Chap. 64. 




I. The Freedmen. 

Even before the termination of hostilities, the negro question 
arose in North Carolina, but at first the problem was necessa- 
rily one for the military authorities solely. The first question 
requiring solution was regarding the disposition of the great 
numbers of freedmen who had assembled in various places, 
particularly in New Bern and Wilmington. When Sherman 
reached Fayetteville, about 8,000 negroes were with the army. 
The burden was too great, and he sent them to Wilmington, 
where a great number had already congregated.^ When it 
was decided, on account of expense, the danger of disease, and 
other causes, to disperse them as much as possible, General 
Hawley settled part of those in Wilmington on Smith's Island 
at the mouth of the Cape Fear, and part near Fort Anderson 
at Old Brunswick.^ They were supplied with food and en- 
couraged to begin planting crops. 

General Schofield, in his proclamation announcing emanci- 
pation, advised the freedmen not to congregate in the towns 
but to seek employment under their former masters.^ He 
was fearful of the result of the delay in settling the question 
of their status and disposal, believing that they would become 
a "huge white elephant" on the hands of the government.* 
On May 15th he published a set of regulations for their gov- 
ernment. Parents were declared to have control of their 
children and, at the same time, the obligation of their former 
masters to tatce care of the children became theirs. Orphans 
and the aged and infirm, if they had no near relations, were 

lOff. Rec. No. 99, p. 978. 3 ibid, p. 331. 

,2 Ibid, No. 100, pp. 39, 80. ^ Ibid, p. 405. 


still to remain in the care of their former masters, who were 
forbidden to turn them away. The question of wages was 
left to be decided by employers and employees; but the latter 
were warned to expect only moderate wages or a fair share 
of the crops. District commanders were directed to appoint 
superintendents to take charge of matters relating to the f reed- 
men.*^ Provision was also made for the registration of mar- 
riages between the freedmen. When the provisional govern- 
ment was established no ruling was made on the subject, but 
freedmen were advised to go through the same formalities as 
the whites and clerks were directed to issue licenses to them.* 
General Schofield's regulations were fair and, where they had 
any effect, worked for good. The care and support of the 
aged negroes, without the assistance of the younger ones, was - 
often a great burden upon the former masters, but one that 
was borne generally with no thought of complaining. 

During the spring and early summer of 1865 outside influ- 
ences were brought to bear upon the freedmen and a petition 
was circulated among them which asked the President, in his 
work of re-organization, to give them equal rights with the 
whites.'^ A series of meetings was held in various towns to 
choose delegates to a general meeting to be held later. Promi- 
nent in the proceedings of these meetings were negroes from 
the North who had come down to begin a movement among 
their race for equal rights and privileges. Several of these 
newcomers were natives who had escaped to the North and 
had received some education. The general meeting was held 
in Raleigh in September. The whole affair was under the 
control of J. W. Hood, a colored minister from Connecticut, 
and James H. Harris, a native who had beei^ educated in 

5 Oflf. Rec. No. 100, p. 503. 

6 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p. 93. 

7 North Carolina correspondence of the New York Herald, May 15, 


Ohio. The latter had unusual ability as a speaker and was 
exceedingly shrewd. A. H. Galloway, a native, but recently 
from the North, and Isham Swett, of Fayetteville, were also 
prominent. This group was again to become prominent in 
1868. The tendency of the convention was towards a demand 
for equal political rights, including the suffrage. But, 
through the influence of Harris and Galloway, a set of resolu- 
tions addressed to the State convention, which was about to 
assemble, was adopted. These asked in moderate and well- 
chosen language that their race might have protection and 
an opportunity for education. They also asked that discrimi- 
nation before the law might be abolished. No reference was 
made to the suffrage.® Before adjournment the convention 
resolved itself into an Equal Rights League, which at once 
began to work for the abolition of all distinctions on account 
of race and color.^ 

The question of negro suffrage was already under discus- 
sion. In July Alfred M. Waddell, a prominent citizen of 
Wilmington, the ante-bellum editor of the Herald and later a 
lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate service, in a speech to the 
colored people of Wilmington, denounced taxation without rep- 
resentation and advocated a future extension of the suffrage to 
those of the negroes that were qualified for the privilege.^® In 
September the Sentinel said it was opposed to negro suffrage 
but was willing to open its pages to a discussion of the mat- 
ter. A series of articles favoring it appeared, written by 
Victor C. Barringer, but unsigned. He took strong ground 
for granting the suffrage to the negroes, if only as a matter 
of policy, since the North would soon be united on the subject 
and it would be well to forestall the Radicals and grant quali- 
fied suffrage.^^ His views were probably absorbed from his 
brother. General Rufus Barringer, who, while a prisoner at 

8 Standard, Oct. 2 and 3, 1865. 10 Sentinel, Aug. 8, 1865. 
»Ibid, Jan. 2, 1866. n Ibid., Sept. 1 and 11, 1865. 


Fort Delaware, had come to the conclusion in his conversation 
with the Northern officers that nothing less than negro suffrage 
would be accepted by the North.^^ 

The noticeable fact about the discussion of the question was 
that it caused no excitement or strong feeling. Opposition 
was expressed, but calmly, and enfranchisement was discussed 
as a possibility, though an objectionable one. Ex-Governor 
Swain said that if the freehold qualification for voting for State 
Senators should be restored he would favor restricted colored 
suffrage for the House of Representatives.^^ In all the argu- 
ments the bitterness shown a year later was lacking. But it 
is true that few believed that there was any possibility of 
negro suffrage being forced upon the South and there was 
no objection to a discussion where freedom of action was 
possible. Foremost in opposition to any extension of the 
suffrage was the Standard. Among its so-called "Union 
Landmarks," before mentioned^* was "The right of the States 
to determine the question of suffrage for themselves. Un- 
qualified opposition to what is called negro suffrage." ^^ The 
discussion was without any good effect and possibly made a 
calm discussion later a matter of difficulty. 

As has been mentioned the position of the free negroes in 
North Carolina previous to the war was different from that 
in most of the other Southern States. The same was true 
after general emancipation had taken place. By a decision 
rendered by Judge Gaston in 1838^® the inhabitants of the 
State were declared to form two classes, citizens and aliens. 
Slaves, from their condition, belonged to the latter class, but 
free persons of color formed part of the former class. By 
emancipation, therefore, citizenship was immediately conferred 

12 Sentinel, Feb. 7, 1866. 

18 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. 1, p. 265. 

i*p. 109, preceding. 

15 Standard, Aug. 5, 1865. 

i« State V. Manuel, 20 N. C, 20. 


Upon some 300,000 persons who had hitherto been "aliens 
through the disabiHty of slavery/' Free negroes hitherto 
had been, like other citizens, entitled to the privilege of the 
writ of habeas corpus, to trial by jury, to own property, even 
in slaves,^^ to prosecute and defend suits in courts of justice, 
and, as incident to this, to make affidavits for a continuance 
and to prove by their own oaths, even against white persons, 
accounts for labor to the amount of $60.^® But the free ne- 
groes had been accustomed to the exercise of their liberties 
and were limited in number. When the end of the war 
brought general emancipation the fear naturally arose that the 
freedmen newly endowed with citizenship would be unpre- 
pared for its rights without special limitations. The question 
thus arose as to what changes would have to be made to enable 
this new class of citizens to enter upon their rights, and, at 
the same time, their duties, without disturbance and injury to 
the body politic. To decide this question the convention had 
authorized a commission to be appointed by the provisional 
governor and Governor Holden had appointed B. F. Moore, 
W. S. Mason and R. S. Donnell, who at once began their 

They presented their report to the General Assembly in Jan- 
uary, 1866. It was an able and elaborate discussion of the 
whole subject with a proposed scheme of legislation, based 
on the recognized citizenship of the freedmen. They advised 
the repeal of all laws which affected specially the colored race 
and the re-enacting of such as were necessary. The main 
bill which they recommended, and which was passed with a 
few minor changes, defined as persons of color negroes and 
their issue to the fourth generation, even when one parent was 
white in each generation.^^ They were declared entitled to 

17 In 1861 free negroes were forbidden thereafter to own slaves. 

18 Graham to Holderby, Feb. 6, 1866. Published in the Sentinel. 

19 Indians were included in the bill as first presented, but were 
omitted later. 


the same rights and privileges and subject to the same dis- 
abilities as free persons of color prior to general emancipa- 
tion. They were also declared entitled to the same privileges 
as white persons in sUits and proceedings at law and in equity. 
The law of apprenticeship was altered so as to apply to both 
races alike, with the one exception that in the case of the 
negroes former owners had a preference over all other per- 
sons. The marriage of, former slaves was made valid and 
provision was made for registration. Marriage between 
white and colored persons was forbidden and a penalty pro- 
vided for issuing licenses in such cases or for performing the 
ceremony. All contracts where one or more of the parties 
was colored for property of the value of ten dollars or more 
were void, unless put in writing, signed by the parties and 
witnessed by a white person who could read and write. Per- 
sons of color were declared competent witnesses in all cases 
at law or in equity where the rights or property of persons 
of color were involved, and also in pleas of the State where the 
oflfense was alleged to have been committed against a person 
of color. In other cases their testimony was admissible by 
consent. This was not to go into eflfect until jurisdiction in af- 
fairs relating to the freedmen should be left to the State courts.^ 
All criminal laws were changed so as to apply alike to both 
races, and the punishment was made the same except in the 
case of an assault with the intent to commit rape upon a white 
woman. When the assault was committed by a person of color 
it was a capital offence ; otherwise it was an aggravated assault 
and punishable under the common law by fine and imprison- 
ment.^^ A special court of wardens for the colored poor was 
authorized for each county. 

The scheme, even with its amendments, met with consider- 
able opposition in both houses and in the State generally. The 
press, however, almost unanimously favored it. The Standard 

20 This provision was first inserted in the House. 

21 The report will be found in the L^islative Documents for 1865-6 
and in the newspapers of January, 1866. 


was silent on the subject, and the editor was hostile to the 
proposed legislation. It was charged that he attempted to 
defeat the plan in the hope that the State might again be put 
under a provisional government.^^ Many persons in the State 
seen^ed unconvinced that citizenship had already been con- 
ferred upon the negroes and that any deprivation of their 
rights would be an injustice. When the November election 
took place it is hardly doubtful that a majority in the State 
was opposed to giving negroes the right to testify. Their 
testimony had not been admissible against white persons for 
many years, if ever, but since 1821 slaves had been permitted 
to testify against free negroes.^^ When the report of the 
commission was presented the chief fight was made on the 
portion relating to testimony and the debate lasted four days. 
Two grounds for the passage of this part of the bill had been 
stated by the commission: first, that the helpless and un- 
protected condition of the colored race demanded it; and sec- 
ond, that the admission of their testimony was necessary to 
secure to colored people their property rights. Other reasons 
were advanced in the debate — ^the well-known desire of the 
President for its passage, the hope that full jurisdiction would 
be given the State courts in cases relating to the freedmen, 
and that the Freedmen's Bureau would be withdrawn. The 
general unreliability of negro testimony was fully recognized, 
but it was thought better to admit all than to deny any, and 
at times defeat justice. And it was believed that it would be 
a means of education in telling the truth. In opposition it was 
urged that it was a step towards negro suffrage, and in any 
case would arouse hopes in the negroes that would be of no 
benefit to them. Finally the bill obtained in the House of 
Representatives a majority of one vote. In the Senate it 
failed to pass its second reading, but on re-consideration it 
obtained a majority of eight. Many of the members had 

22 Sentinel, March 14, 1866. 

23 It is said that this law was enacted to humble the free negroes. 


changed their opinion during the debate, but were pledged 
to their constituents to vote against negro testimony. This 
accounts in part for the small majorities obtained.^* 

The commission recommended and obtained the passage 
of acts providing punishment for pursuing live stock with 
the intention of stealing,^^ for seditious language, insurrec- 
tion and rebellion and for vagrancy. The Vagrancy Act was a 
substitute for two statutes already existing which made a dis- 
tinction between the races. Acts were also passed to prevent 
wilful trespass on lands and stealing from them, to prevent 
the enticing of servants from fulfillment of contracts or the 
harboring of servants who had already broken a contract, and 
to secure to agricultural laborers their pay in kind. A system 
of work-houses was provided for to be used in the punishment 
of minor oflfenses. All these laws operated equally upon 
both races, and the whole "code," if it be so called, was charac- 
terized by justice and moderation. 

The slight discrimination shown, however, was sufficient to 
cause objection by the officers of the Freedmen's Bureau, and 
in consequence of their refusal to surrender jurisdiction Gov- 
ernor Worth recommended to the convention which met in 
May that it should make alterations satisfactory to the Freed- 
men's Bureau.^® This was done by making penalties the 
same for both races in all cases and abolishing all discrimina- 
tions before the law.^^ The act was, however, only legislative, 
and did not bind the further action of any general assembly. 

The social and economic condition of the freedmen during 
1865 and 1866 was one that might well excite pity. Their first 
instinct upon emancipation had naturally been to move about 
and put their freedom to a test. Town life, with its excitement, 

24 Sentinel, March 5, 1866. 

25 This was made necessary by the increase of theft of live stock, 
particularly of hogs. 

2« Journal, p. 5. 
27 Ordinances, p. 8. 


furnished an almost irresistible attraction, and only the presence 
of troops was necessary to render it completely so. Free- 
dom, in their minds, meant freedom not only from slavery 
but from work, with a continuation of their former freedom 
from responsibility. Refusal to work resulted naturally in 
want of the necessaries of life, and sickness and destitution 
were general in the towns. In the country matters were some- 
what better. There the demoralization of those that remained 
was not so great and support was more easily obtained either 
by labor or dishonestly. Crime increased greatly as the time 
went by. The proceedings of the provost marshal's court in 
Raleigh show somewhat the extent of petty offenses. Serious 
offenses of all sorts were turned over to the Freedmen's Bu- 
reau, but larceny, disorder and similar offenses were usually 
punished by hanging the convicted parties by their thumbs 
to the lamp posts in the streets. The newspapers, in almost 
every issue, had accounts of violence and crime committed by 
freedmen, and, in most cases, these went unpunished. The 
Bureau agents, either from intention or inability, accomplished 
little to remedy the condition of affairs. In many instances 
it was impossible for the farmers to keep the smaller live 
stock with any degree of security, and even horses and cattle 
were frequently stolen. The large number of wandering 
negroes increased the difficulty of bringing the offenders to 

2, Conflict of the Civil and Military Powers. 

At the beginning of the provisional government there was, 
naturally, no question of the distinction between the civil and 
military powers. In a sense, the provisional governor was 
more a military than a civil officer. His appointment and 
authority were based on the war power of the President, and 
the object of his appointment was to restore a civil govern- 
ment. This was a work that would necessarily take time, and 


to the military forces was confided the duty of at least pre- 
serving order. At the close of the war North Carolina formed 
a distinct military department. At first General Schofield 
was in command, but he was succeeded by General Thomas 
H. Ruger. The latter divided the department into five dis- 
tricts, each with a general commanding.^® In June, 1866, the 
State was included with South Carolina in the Department of 
the South and placed under General Daniel E. Sickles.^^ 
North Carolina formed a separate command under General 
J. C. Robinson, who was also an assistant commissioner of 
the Freedmen's Bureau. This arrangement continued until 
the establishment of the military government. 

The first difference which arose was in regard to the county 
police force. While General Schofield was in command he 
had a definite agreement with the provisional governor, by 
which the whole matter was left to the various county courts.^® 
Acting in accordance with this agreement Governor Holden 
gave the justices of several counties permission to establish 
such a force. But General Ruger, who in the meantime had 
succeeded General Schofield, refused to recognize the agree- 
ment or to allow tKe forces thus organized to act.^^ 

The next matter of which Governor Holden complained 
was in regard to the colored troops stationed in the State. The 
first complaint to Governor Holden came from Wilmington. 
The town had a negro garrison, and with its large negro popu- 
lation was in a state of great alarm. Alfred M. Waddell wrote 
the governor early in June that outrages by the troops were 
of daily occurrence and that the effect of the presence of the 

28 They were as follows: New Bern, Gen. C. J. Paine; Wilmington, 
Gen. J. W. Ames; Kaleigh, General A. Ames; Greensboro, Gen. S. P. 
Carter; and West North Carolina, Gen. Thos. T. Heath, with head- 
quarters at Morganton. Off. Ree. No. 100, p. 675. 

29 General Orders, No. 32; May 19, 1866. 

so Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p. 77. 
31 Ibid, pp. 70 and 77. 




colored troops on the negro population was very dangerous. 
Arrests were constantly made without any cause, and in one 
instance the soldiers were instructed if the person arrested 
said or did anything to run him through. There was little 
or no redress, as unusual latitude was given the colored 
troops.*^ In July the mayor and commissioners wrote describ- • { 

ing the conduct of the negroes and the apprehension felt by 
the white people of an insurrection. The negroes had de- 
manded that they should have some of the city offices and had 
made threats when they were refused. The governor replied 
that the citizens had acted rightly in refusing to appoint the 
negroes to office, as the right to hold office depended on the 
right of suffrage. He also assured them that if the negroes 
attempted by force to gain control of public affairs or avenge 
grievances suffered at. the hands of the whites, they would be 
visited with swift punishment ; but if obedient to the laws they 
would be protected. He also wrote General Ruger and ap- 
pealed to him to take steps in the matter, suggesting that the 
police guard of New Hanover county should be armed and 
that the city authorities should have a reserve of arms at their 
disposal. In September all the negro troops from the North 
that were in the State were ordered to be mustered out, but 
this still left a considerable number.^^ Wherever they were 
stationed there was genuine alarm among the inhabitants. A 
report in Raleigh in 1866 that a company was to be ordered 
there caused intense uneasiness.^* In the case of Elizabeth 
City and Edenton all alarm was unfounded, as the soldiers 
behaved very well.^'^ But in Beaufort a party of them from 
Fort Macon committed a brutal rape and were also guilty of 
attempting the same crime a second time. They were arrested 
in the town and the garrison of Fort Macon threatened to 
turn its guns upon the town if they were not surrendered.'® 

82 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p. 35. 

33 Off. Rec. No. 126, p. 108. se Standard, Jan. 5, 1866. 

84 Sentinel, Aug. 18, 1865. 

85 Ibid, Sept. 25, 1865. 




The condition of affairs there was so bad that General Ruger 
forbade any soldiers to leave the fort except under a white 
officer.^^ Near Wilmington, Thomas Pickett was mur- 
dered and his two daughters dangerously wounded by three 
soldiers from the negro garrison at Fort Fisher in company 
with a negro from Wilmington.^^ In Kinston a citizen was 
beaten by the soldiers, and upon Governor Holden's complaint 
to General Ruger the garrison was removed.^® Soon after- 
wards the governor notified General Ruger that a car of mus- 
kets and ammunition had been side-tracked at Auburn, and 
while left unguarded had been opened by the freedmen and 
its contents distributed. The possessors of the arms then 
became the terror of the community.*® Complaints of colored 
troops were also sent in from New Bern, Windsor and other 
eastern towns.*^ General Ruger and General Cox both 
showed a disposition to do everything in their power to pre- 
vent any trouble, the latter issuing special orders on the sub- 
ject.*2 In September, 1866, the last remaining regiment of 
negro volunteers was mustered out, and that cause of discon- 
tent disappeared.*^ 

The white troops as a general thing, after the confusion inci- 
dent to the surrender was over, behaved well. In Asheville, 
however, they were so disorderly and undisciplined that great 
efforts were made by the citizens to have them withdrawn.** 

The chief cause of friction between the civil and the military 
authorities was, however, as might be supposed, concerning 
the administration of justice. Governor Holden, as has been 

87 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. 1, p. 38. 

38 Sentinel, Jan. 18, 1865. 

3» Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, p. 81. 

40 Ibid, p. 82. 

41 Ibid, pp. 78-9. 

42 Ibid, p. 8. 

48 House Ex. Docs. No. 1, p. 299; 1st session 40th Cong. 
44 Vance to Worth, Feb. 6, 1866. 

148 re;construction in north caroi^ina. 

seen, appointed a full number of provisional judges, and when 
the civil government went into operation the office in every 
district was filled by election. A number of the provisional 
judges decided that they had no jurisdiction in cases of of- 
fenses committed prior to May 29, 1865, and the rest assented 
to this opinion,*^ but it only applied to the provisional judges 
and in no way bound those elected by the General Assembly. 
The question of conflicting jurisdiction first arose in July, 
1865. A white man in Chatham county killed a freedman in 
June. Governor Holden had not then appointed any judges 
and therefore turned the prisoner over to General Cox, who 
at once ordered him to be held by the provost marshal until 
the civil courts should be open. In July when Governoi: 
Holden requested that the prisoner should be delivered to the 
civil authorities for trial, General Ames refused on the ground 
that in view of the facts of the case a military trial was neces- 
sary.^^ The same month the question again arose over three 
citizens of Person county who were arrested for an assault 
upon a freedman and carried to Raleigh for trial by si military 
commission. Governor Holden at once called the attention 
of General Ruger to the re-organization of the civil govern- 
ment of the county, and requested that the prisoners might 
be remanded there for a civil trial. General Ruger refused 
on the ground that the military authorities had a clear juris- 
diction in all cases relating to the preservation of order, and 
consequently did not have to wait for the call of the civil power 
or to obey the writ of habeas corpus. He declared that vio- 
lence toward the freedmen was not uncommon in the State, 
but that he knew of no instance where the provisional magis- 
trates had taken official notice of such cases. He further 
said that he was informed by the agents of the Bureau that 
hostility to the freedmen was succeeding apathy, and that 
consequently no dependence could be put on grand juries. 

45 The opinion is in the Standard, Dec. 15, 1865. 

46 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, pp. 8, 20 and 23. 


The only remedy for oflfenses against the blacks was prompt 
trial by a military commission. He also objected to the pro- 
cedure of the civil courts as clumsy and productive of delay.*^ 
Governor Holden maintained that the proclamation of the 
President gave the civil power exclusive jurisdiction and 
showed the utter impossibility of concurrent jurisdiction. He 
defended the State against the charge of hostility to the freed- 
men, suggesting that the Bureau commissioners had probably 
heard only one side of the question.*® But General Ruger was 
not to be convinced and closed the discussion, declaring that 
martial law existed at the surrender, and in his opinion existed 
still, except where modified by the President. He expressed 
his confidence in the honesty of the courts, but declared that 
they were without power to prevent violence.*® 

Governor Holden referred the whole matter to the Presi- 
dent, who did not interfere in behalf of the State. The gov- 
ernor in the meantime made every effort to conform to the 
wishes of General Ruger. Courts of Oyer and Terminer were 
ordered to be held in various parts of the State, and this re- 
moved ground for the charge that justice was delayed. Finally 
Governor Holden reached a definite agreement with General 
Ruger as to military and civil jurisdiction. All cases of mis- 
demeanor or violation of law in which white persons alone 
were concerned were placed within the jurisdiction of the 
courts of Oyer and Terminer constituted by the governor, 
while all cases in which freedmen were concerned were de- 
clared under military jurisdiction.'^® Later the judges of the 
courts of Oyer and Terminer were given power to bind over 
to court or to bind to keep the peace, and even to lodge in jail 
accused persons, regardless of color. The trial of such cases 
as concerned freedmen was, however, still by military com- 

47 Executive Letters, Provisional Governor, pp. 27-32. 

48 Ibid, pp. 31-6. 

49 Ibid, p. 37. 

50 Sentinel, Sept. 19, 1865. 


missions.^^ General Meade approved the arrangement, assur- 
ing Governor Holden that whenever the laws of the State and 
the practice of the courts left no doubt that the freedmen 
would receive justice, the use of military commissions would 

The conflict of the two jurisdictions was carried to its ulti- 
mate issue in the trial of Major John H. Gee, of Florida, by a 
military commission for violation of the laws of war in his 
treatment of Federal prisoners at Salisbury. A short review 
of the case will be interesting, as it was the most important 
one tried by a military commission in North Carolina. The 
commission assembled in Raleigh on February 21, 1866. Major 
Gee, through counsel, claimed that under the terms of the 
Sherman- Johnston agreement he, as a paroled prisoner, was 
not liable to trial. The commission, however, claimed juris- 
diction, and the trial followed. Major Gee then pleaded his 
acceptance of the terms of amnesty as laid down in the Presi- 
dent's proclamation, but the commission decided that he was 
debarred under the sixth exception.*'^ The trial lasted over 
eighty days, though only fifty-five of these were actually con- 
sumed in the proceedings of the court. More than a hundred 
witnesses were examined. At the close of the examination 
of the witnesses for the prosecution the defence entered a 
plea that the jurisdiction of the commission had been removed 
by the President's proclamation declaring that the insurrec- 
tion had ceased,*'* and moved that the case should be referred 
to the civil authorities. The commission, after hearing the 
matter argued by counsel, refused to assent to the motion and 
ordered a continuance of the trial. Colonel Holland, counsel 
for Major Gee, then sued out a writ of habeas corpus directed 
to General Ruger and returnable to Judge Fowle. General 

51 Record of the Provisional Gk>vemor, pp. 143-4. 

52 Executive Letters, Provisional Gk)vernor, p. 74. 

53 This excepted those who had violated the laws of war. 

54 Proclamation of April 2, 1866. 


Ruger refused to produce Major Gee on the ground that he 
held him under the President's order. Colonel Holland then 
moved that an attachment be issued against General Ruger. 
Judge Fowle announced as his opinion that, under the Presi- 
dent's proclamation, the prisoner was entitled to civil trial. 
But he postponed his decision for two weeks. The day before 
the time specified for rendering the decision President John- 
son notified the governor that his proclamation was not in- 
tended to operate in the case of a military commission already 
instituted, and that General Ruger had been instructed to allow 
the trial to proceed, but to report all proceedings to the War 
Department for revision. The next day*^*^ Judge Fowle ren- 
dered a formal decision declaring that by virtue of the official 
declaration of the President that the insurrection was at an 
end, Major Gee was entitled to the privileges of the writ of 
habeas corpus, and consequently that General Ruger's return 
was insufficient. He then issued an attachment against th^J 
general, with instructions to the sheriff not to serve it if the 
writ should be obeyed. General Ruger of course declined to 
obey the writ or to submit to arrest. The matter was then re- 
ferred to the governor, and thus came to an end.^^ The result 
of the trial was the acquittal of Major Gee. 

The most important of the military trials in which the ac- 
cused was a citizen of North Carolina was that of Mrs. Isham 
Ball, of Warren county, in February, 1866, for the murder 
of a freedman. The testimony showed beyond doubt that 
he had entered upon her premises after being forbidden to 
do so, and was advancing upon her in a most threatening way 
when she fired the shot which killed him. The commission, 
however, found her guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced 
her to three years' imprisonment. General Ruger reduced it 

55 April 28, 1866. 

56 The account of this case has been gathered from the files of the 
Sentinel and Standard for 1866. 


to one, and a later appeal to the President resulted in her 
pardon. No attempt was made to procure a civil trial for 

These were the chief instances of disputed jurisdiction and 
of trial by military commission. But they are merely examples 
chosen from the great number in the period extending from 
July, 1865, until the establishment of military government in 
name as well as in fact in 1867. 

In the fall of 1865 Captain W. H. Doherty, an assistant 
quartermaster at New Bern, petitioned General Ruger to order 
a military commission to investigate the hanging of twenty 
North Carolina Union volunteers in March, 1864, by General 
George E. Pickett and General R. F. Hoke, "merely because 
of their devotion to the Union cause." A board of inquiry 
was accordingly constituted and recommended that the officers 
composing the court-martial that ordered the executions re- 
ferred to. General Pickett, General Hoke, Colonel Baker and 
others unnamed, should be tried and punished for violation 
of the laws of war. The testimony taken by the board showed 
that those executed had all been deserters, but the board 
claimed that it was only from the State service, and that con- 
sequently the court-martial had no authority. Judge Advo- 
vate General J. Holt, to whom the case was referred, decided 
that no personal charge could be sustained, as those executed 
had been deserters. Another court of inquiry was constituted 
in January, 1866, but was able to gain no incriminating evi- 
dence. In the meantime the Judge Advocate General had 
changed his opinion in regard to the possibility of punishment 
and recommended General Pickett's arrest and trial.°^ Gen- 
eral Pickett and General Hoke, however, had already appealed 
to General Grant, and this, in connection with the impossi- 
bility of securing a conviction, led to the dropping of the whole 

57 House Ex. Docs. No. 98, 1st Sess. 39th Cong. 


Injudicious expressions of opinion by newspaper editors 
resulted on several occasions in the application of military 
law. The publisher of the Goldsboro News was arrested, and 
the publication of his paper suspended, on account of a criti- 
cism of some women who had come from the North to teach 
in colored schools.^^ He was released without punishment. 
Benjamin Robinson, one of the editors of the Fayetteville 
Observer, was arrested in December, 1865, for seditious lan- 
guage, and was brought to Raleigh. Later he was released 
on parole.^® But the most noted of such cases was that of 
Robert P. Waring, editor of the Charlotte Times. He was 
arrested in December, 1865, ^^d after several weeks' confine- 
ment was tried on the charge of "publishing and circulating 
disloyal and seditious writings within a district under martial 
law, the writing referred to being calculated, it was alleged, 
and intended to produce hostility to the government of the 
United States. It was an editorial declaring the South to be 
under a despotism.^® To the charge above-mentioned, so far 
as concerned the act, he pleaded guilty. The intention alleged 

58 standard, Jan. 11, 1866. 

50 Ibid, Dec. 18, 1866. 

60 The editorial was as follows : "We are still without Washington 
news, and look forward to the report of the committee on credentials 
with some interest, though without hope of receiving justice. The 
South is now under a more grinding despotism than has heretofore 
found a place upon the face of the earth. Raised under a form of 
government, as expoimded by the early fathers of the republic, when to 
say *I am an American citizen* was to be equal to a king, we feel our 
serfdom more painfully by reflecting upon what we have lost. We 
have fallen from our high estate, and now there is 'none so poor as 
to do us reverence.' Other nations, suffering under the iron heel of 
lawless tyranny, can console themselves with the reflection that their 
condition is no worse than that of their predecessors. Not so with the 
proud Southron. He once roamed his field a free man, and sat under 
his own vine and fig tree, and none dared make him afraid. He was 
the equal if not the superior of the mercenary race which now domi- 
nates over him." 


he denied. He was ably defended, but the result was a fore- 
gone conclusion and he was found guilty and fined $300.®^ 

The only other important case of interference by the mili- 
tary authorities in criminal proceedings was in December, 
1866, when corporal punishment was forbidden except in the 
case of apprenticed minors. The same order forbade the 
enforcement of the vagrancy laws when any distinction was 
made on account of race.®^ As regards corporal punishment 
the State had no prison, and for many years punishment by 
whipping had been administered to the criminals of both 
races. The prejudice against it originated with the negroes 
and the Freedmen's Bureau agents, who alike regarded it, 
when applied to the former, as a remnant of slavery. For 
months before the order forbidding it was issued there Kad 
been constant interference by the Bureau in the execution 
of the sentences of the courts. The cruelty of the punishment 
could hardly have been the cause of its abolition, for, as has 
been noticed, hanging by the thumbs was the usual punish- 
ment administered by the provost marshal's courts in Raleigh.®* 
Governor Worth appealed to the President, and in company 
with Judge Ruffin, ex-Governor Swain and Mr. Boyden went 
to Washington to see him, but no change in the order was 
made. In any case it would have been too late, as the military 
government was established by Congress soon after. 

In numerous other ways military authority was exercised. 
Interference in civil suits, while not so frequent as in criminal 
cases, was not unknown. An instance of this occurred in 

«i This was not his first experience of the military power of the 
United States, for, in 1861, when he returned to New York, after re- 
signing the consulship at St. Thomas, he was arrested and confined for 
some time for raising his hat to a Confederate fiag. Dowd, Prominent 
North Carolinians, p. 73. 

62 General Orders No. 16. 

63 Proceedings of the Provost Marshal's court, published in the Stand- 
ard during 1865. 


Raleigh in February, 1866. Two m^n from the North rented 
a hotel property in the town. The owner, after some time, 
unable to collect the rent, sued for the amount. Finding that 
the lessees were about to leave town he had them arrested, but 
General Ruger, who had refused to interfere in the suit on 
account of lack of jurisdiction, now forced the sheriff to release 
them because there was no judge to summon the plaintiff to 
show the cause of their arrest. The defendants, soon after their 
release, left the State without settling their indebtedness. 
General Ruger claimed that he had not intended to prevent 
recovery by the plaintiff but only to delay arrest until a judge 
should be present in the town.^* 

Several times interference occurred in regard to taxes. The 
convention of 1865 levied a tax on all mercantile business for 
that year. In Wilmington in January, 1866, General Cook, 
who was then in command, issued an order restraining the 
sheriff of New Hanover from cofl'ecting the tax from firms 
trading under a Federal license. This ruling, however, was 
revoked by General Ruger.®*^ In 1866 General J. C. Robinson 
interferred in the collection of a poll tax in Cumberland and 
Columbus counties, ordering the sheriffs to refund all collected 
above $1., as the State had only levied that amount. He was 
probably ignorant of the fact that the law had a provision for 
increasing the amount according to the necessities of each 

Such was the part played by the army in North Carolina in 
civil affairs during the period of Presidential reconstruction. 
Enough has been shown of the workings of the State govern- 
ment to make it clear that while, by degrees, much was left 
to the State authorities, the government was practically mili- 
tary in that the State government performed its functions 
only through the acquiescence of the military commanders. 

6* Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. 1, pp. 44-6. 
«e Ibid, pp. 36-7. 
66 Ibid., pp. 208-9. 


These commanders, in general, showed themselves to be con- 
siderate and animated by a desire for peace and harmony. 
But they were naturally inclined to disregard points of law 
which were of importance to a civilian, and when their minds 
were made up to any course it was practically useless to ad- 
vance any arguments in opposition. While their interference 
in civil affairs was deeply resented and sharply, if uselessly, 
opposed in the State, the officers generally were personally 
popular in the various communities in which they were sta- 

0tState Politics in 1866. 

At the close of the provisional government Mr. Holden, 
embittered by his defeat and disappointed in his plan to con- 
tinue in office, resumed the editorship of the Standard, He 
still had the ear of the President and felt that through this 
fact he might succeed in the end. But abuse of the Radical 
policy at Washington became less and less frequent in Holden's 
paper, and at the same time less violent; and by the summer 
of 1866 it had ceased entirely. His quiet opposition to the 
admission of negro testimony showed what was in his mind. 
No thinking person aware of the conditions of public senti- 
ment at the North doubted that a refusal to make this con- 
cession, demanded alike by justice and policy, would solidify 
the radicals in Congress against any recognition of the exist- 
ing State government, and it is also very clear that Mr, Holden 
did not desire the recognition by Congress of those who had 
defeated him. He was accused of this by the Sentinel in 
March and thereafter.^^ 

Early in the year the Standard said that if the laudation of 
Vance in the State press should continue and should be accom- 
panied by disparagement of Mr. Holden, an appeal would be 
made to the President to cause Vance to be again confined in 

67 Sentinel, March 20, 1866. 


prison, and with Jefferson Davis to be tried for treason.®^ Tn 
March Mr. Holden said editorially that while he had in the 
past favored universal amnesty, he was compelled by the course 
of the secessionists to demand that the law should be allowed 
to talce its course. ®® Four days thereafter war was formally 
declared upon his opponents in the following words : "We 
know that the true Unionists are depressed at the prospects 
before them, and feel that they have a right to look to Wash- 
ington for sympathy and for such practicable aid as will 
enable them to put the enemies of the Union where they ought 
to be — under their feet. And we now give notice that we have 
commenced this warfare on traitors, not without having 
counted the cost, and we intend to continue it until they are 
driven from every office of importance in the State. Nothing 
shall divert us from our purpose." ''^ The challenge was ac- 
cepted, and the Sentinel became as violent as the Standard. 
Ihe course of the Sentinel was regarded with distaste and 
apprehension by Governor Worth and his friends. They be- 
lieved that but for Mr. PelFs violence Mr. Holden would be 
politically dead,^^ but their appeals to Mr. Pell were without 

When the convention assembled in adjourned session in 
May, opposition had developed to its taking any action in 
regard to the State constitution. This opposition had a two- 
fold basis. A large number of lawyers opposed any action 
on the ground that the convention had been called for special 
purposes which it had accomplished at its first session, and 
that it should therefore adjourn sine die. Still others desired 
its dissolution because a large number of its members were 
adherents of Mr. Holden. They based their arguments upon 
the same reasons as the former class, but a difference is 
readily seen. As soon as the convention met resolutions for 
adjournment were introduced, declaring that it had no author- 

68 standard, Jan. 17, 1866. ^o ibid, March 6, 1866. 

69 Ibid, March 2, 1866. 7i Worth Letters. (Unpublished.) 


ity from the people, and consequently that any alteration of 
the fundamental law of the State, further than was required 
by existing conditions, would be revolutionary and dangerous. 
Without debate the resolutions were defeated by a vote of ,61 
to 30. Mr. Phillips at once attempted to secure the passage 
of a resolution directing a committee to prepare an ordinance 
calling for a convention of the people to meet in 1871 to amend 
the constitution and providing for the adjournment of the 
existing body. He argued that as the chief matter of discus- 
sion was the question of a new basis of representation, it 
would be better to wait until the census of 1870 was taken. 
His resolution, however, was tabled and never acted upon. 

Up to this time representation in the State had been based 
upon Federal population. This worked an injustice upon the 
West, and had been the cause of a long contest previous to the 
war. All efforts to secure a change had failed hitherto, but 
a new movement now began and was favored by the "straitest 
sect" element as it would greatly increase the power of the 
West where their chief strength lay, and might give the control 
of the legislature into their hands. 

An attempt was made to pass a resolution providing for 
sending a commission to Washington to confer with the 
President and members of Congress in regard to what would 
be necessary to secure the restoration of the State to her posi- 
tion in the Union. But the resolution contained an indirect 
endorsement of the. Congressional policy, and although the 
wording was changed it failed. 

The convention remained in session until late in June. 
Most of the timfe was spent in reconstructing the constitution. 
The draft as proposed to the convention embodied most of the 
old document, with certain additions and amendments. Its 
arrangement was the work of B. P. Moore, who was the most 
experienced and learned lawyer in the body. Throughout the 
debates he was its strongest defender, and to him was largely 
due its adoption by the convention. It was provided that the 


new instrument should be submitted to the people for ratifi- 
cation.'^^ The date of the State election was changed to Octo- 
tober to allow the new constitution, if ratified, to go into 
effect. This was a shrewd political move by the "straitest 
sect," who thought that by this they would gain control of the 
legislature on account of the change of the basis of repre- 
sentation. The influence of this element was much more ap- 
parent in the convention than in the General Assembly, but 
it was not great enough to overcome the conservative forces. 
The whole session was marked by a series of compromises; 
so, if the advantage remained with any particular faction, it 
cannot be distinguished. The constitution, as a whole, was 
not a matter on which the two factions divided. On its final 
adoption the vote was 63 to 30. 

As submitted to the people the constitution was a more 
compact instrument than the original, for all the various 
amendments made from time to time were incorporated in 
their proper places. The only important change in the Bill 
of Rights was the addition of clauses prohibiting slavery, pro- 
hibiting the quartering of troops upon citizens except under 
certain laws, and providing that the courts should always be 
open to every person. The basis of representation for the" 
House of Commons was changed to white population. The 
office of lieutenant governor was established. No one could 
hold the office of governor or of lieutenant governor unless he 
had been a citizen of the United States for twenty years, a 
resident of the State for five years immediately preceding the 
election, be thirty years of age and possessed of land in fee to 
the value of $2,000. Senators were required to be thirty 
years of age and to possess three hundred acres of land in 
fee or a freehold of not less value than $1,000.'^* Members 
of the House of Commons were required to have a freehold of 

72 Journal, June 25, 1866. 

78 Formerly it was required that a Senator should own three hundred 


one hundred acres, or to the value of $300. Five years' resi- 
dence previous to election was required for members of both 
houses. None but white persons were eligible as voters or 
office-holders.'^* All persons on taking office were required to 
take, b£sides their official oath, one to support the State con- 
stitution so far as it was not inconsistent with that of the 
United States. It provided that no amendment should be 
made to the constitution except by a convention.''^ Magis- 
trates were thereafter to be chosen by the people for a term 
of six years. 

In addition to being more compact, the constitution was 
clearer and fuller than the existing one. In fact, only one 
great fault could be found with it, and that defect defeated it. 
As soon as it was submitted to the people an exceedingly able 
discussion on the question of ratification began. All the oppo- 
sition of importance was based on the question of the validity 
of the action of the convention. Judge Ruffin and Judge 
Manly were probably the most distinguished of its opponents. 
The former was opposed to the white basis of representation, 
but his chief argument was against the authority of the con- 
vention. He said that it had no more authority in law than 
any voluntary assemblage of persons, and advised the rejection 
of the constitution on this ground also.''® This involved a 
doubt of the validity of the convention's actions at its first 
session, and also raised a question as to the status of the gov- 
ernments of the various Southern States. Thaddeus Stevens 
later quoted him as an authority on his own position regarding 
them.''^ Judge Manly objected to the constitution itself, and 

74 The term "white" meant one having less than one-sixteenth of 
negro blood. 

75 Before this the constitution might be amended by the concurrent 
votes of successive legislatures, ratified by the people. 

76 Sentinel, July 28, 1866. 

77 Mr. Stevens said, "I quote Judge Ruffin, one of the ablest and 
fairest of secessionists. The Chief Justice is right. Not a rebel State 
has this day a lawful government." Speech at Bedford, Pa., Sept. 4, 
1866. Standard, Sept. 19, 1866. 


also claimed that, while the convention had a valid existence 
and authority for the purposes mentioned by the President in 
his proclamation, it had none for any further action.''^ Wil- 
liam A. Graham was also opposed to its ratification. 

As might be imagined, B. F. Moore was the strongest de- 
fender of the constitution or rather of the authority of the 
convention. Unfortunately, his main argument, a discussion 
of the war power of the Presid jnt, and an exceedingly able 
one, did not appear until after the constitution had been re- 
jected. It was written in reply to the argument of Judge 
Ruffin, and while not showing, possibly, as great a respect 
for and knowledge of constitutional law as that of the former 
chief justice, it indicated a clearer perception of the changed 
conditions brought about by the war.*^® Governor Worth also 
favored ratification.^® Mr. Holden was a champion of the 
constitution and said that its rejection would be the worst 
blow that the President's policy had received. The Sentinel 
also favored ratification, but without enthusiasm. 

The vote on the question was taken on August 2nd, and 
resulted in the rejection of the constitution by a majority of 
1,982 out of a total vote of 41,122. 

During the period in which occurred the events just related 
there were other matters of interest to the State In April 
Mr. Holden came out in favor of allowing Congress to act 
without opposition.®^ A little later he declared that while he 
had favored the President's plan of restoration it had been 
rendered useless by the traitors who had obtained office, and, 
as it was necessary for the State to get back into the Union 
and for the control of aflfairs to be restored to loyal men, he 
would advocate the adoption of the proposed Fourteenth or 
Howard Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.** 

78 standard, Aug. 1, 1866. «<> Winston to Worth, Sept. 6, 1866. 

70 Ibid., Sept. 12, 1866. si standard, April 25, 1866. 

82 Ibid, June 6 and 13, 1866. 


i62 re;construction in north Carolina. 

About this time, to the delight of his opponents, Mr. Holden 
was nominated by the President as minister to San Salvador. 
It is not improbable that the nomination was made to quiet 
him and to get him out of the way. He went to Washington 
to press the matter, but was unable to convince the Senate of 
his suitability and the nomination was rejected. It was thought 
at the time that he desired confirmation only that he might 
decline the position, but still be aided politically.^^ 
^ In May, Governor Worth was nominated for re-election by 
a meeting in Randolph county, and a month later he an- 
nounced himself as a candidate. He was much stronger in the 
State than he had been at the preceding election, and in con- 
sequence there was no attempt to run Mr. Holden. But if not 
a candidate, Mr. Holden was at least in entire control of the 
opposition to Governor Worth. He settled upon General M. 
W. Ransom, of Northampton, as the most suitable person to 
oppose Governor Worth, and used every effort to induce him 
to consent to become a candidate ; but the general declined on 
the ground that he was opposed to any contest.** James M. 
Leach and General W. R. Cox were then mentioned by the 
opposition, but meeting with no encouragement, either from 
thern or from the people, the leaders dropped their names. It 
then became the idea of most of the opposition to try and elect 
the lieutenant-governor and not to attempt to elect the governor. 
This plan met with favor among men like John Pool and 
Lewis Thompson, who were pledged to support Worth but 
were in sympathy with the radicals.^^ The plan probably 
failed to meet with the approval of Mr. Holden. For the 
nomination for lieutenant-governor, Thomas Settle was in- 
formally chosen by the opposition; while to oppose him Mr. 
Pell, in spite of the opposition of the Worth leaders, insisted 
upon pressing the claims of Dennis D. Perebee. The rejection 

83 Hedrick to Worth, June 20, 1866. 

84 Standard, Aug. 1, 1866. Also Worth Letters. (Unpublished.) 

85 p. H. Winston to Worth, Sept. 5, 1866. 


of the constitution necessitated a change in these plans. The 
white basis of representation was at once declared by Mr. 
Holden to be the issue of the campaign, and George W. Logan, 
of Rutherford, who had been a member of the Confederate 
Congress, was settled upon as a candidate for governor. P. 
T. Henry was a second choice.®® But both were soon dropped, 
probably at their own request. The position of a candidate 
against Governor Worth at this juncture was not one to be 
sought by anyone with political ambitions. 

During the summer the friends of the national administra- 
tion called a convention of the supporters of the President and 
his policy to meet in Philadelphia on August 14th. By this 
means it was hoped that a consolidation of the Administra- 
tion Republicans and the Democrats might be brought about. 
The call met with a hearty response in North Carolina, but 
very little hope was entertained there that good results would 
follow from it. However, a full delegation attended, composed 
almost entirely of the adherents of Governor Worth.®^ The 
movement was strongly opposed by Mr. Holden who said that 
the delegates who had been chosen would not be admitted. 
The convention met and issued a dignified and able address to 
the country. The opponents of the President's policy ridiculed 
the proceedings with considerable effect, and it is doubtful if 
much good was accomplished. Of the North Carolina delega- 
tion John A .Gilmer was one of the vice-presidents of the con- 
so p. H. Winston to Worth, Sept. 5, 1866. 

87 R. C. Puryear, George Davis, formerly Attorney-General of the 
Confederate States, William A. Graham and Judge George Howard 
were delegates from the State at large. From the congressional dis- 
tricts the delegations were as follows: 1st, W. N. H. Smith, H. A. 
Gilliam; 2nd, M. E. Manly, Wm. A. Wright; 3d, Thos. S. Ashe, Arch. 
McLean; 4th, A. H. Arrington, Vacancy; 5th, Jno. A. Gilmer, Thos. 
Ruffin, Jr.; 6th, Joseph H. Wilson, Nathaniel Boylen; 7th, M. Patton 
and S. F. Patterson. 


vention and William A. Graham was on the committee on reso- 

Two weeks later another convention met in the same city. 
This was called by Southern Unionists who wished an oppor- 
tunity to explain their sentiments and position to the country. 
Among the signers of the call were Daniel R. Goodloe and By- 
ron Laflin, from North Carolina. The former was about to re- 
turn to the State after an absence of many years. The latter, a 
Northern man, had come with the Union army and had settled 
in Pitt county. He was a native of Massachusetts and was 
the first of this class of new residents to enter politics in 
North Carolina. The delegation from North Carolina to the 
convention, besides these, was composed of five Northern men 
and two natives of the State.^^ The personnel of the delega- 
tion is enough to show that it was in no sense representative 
of the State as a whole. At the same time that this convention 
met, delegates from most of the Northern States met in Phila- 
delphia to receive the Southern delegates, organizing them- 
selves into a convention for the purpose. The "Loyalists" re- 
mained in session for five days and adopted an address de- 
nouncing the President and his policy and demanding the 
adoption of the proposed Fourteenth Amendment as an abso- 
lute necessity in the South. Of the North Carolina delegates 
the most prominent were A. W. Tourgee and Daniel R. Good- 

88 The delegates were A. W. Tourgee, a native of Ohio, who had 
come to Guilford County after service in the Union army; Rev. Hope 
Bain, a Northern minster, who had settled in Groldsboro before the 
war; G. 0. Glavis, a former Union chaplain and Bureau agent, lately 
convicted of dishonesty by a military commission; Rev. James Sin- 
clair, a native of Scotland, educated in Pennsylvania, who had lived 
in the State before 1861, had been a Confederate lieutenant-colonel, 
and after being accused of treason had become a Union chaplain and 
later a Bureau agent; H. K. Furniss, a Northern man, of whom little 
is known; J. W. Wynne, a native, and A. H. Jones, a native, who had 
been elected to Congress immediately after the war, but had not been 


loe. The former took a very prominent part in all the pro- 
ceedings of the convention but particularly in the debate which 
took place on negro suffrage. Mr. Tourgee advocated it 
strongly with the usual argument that it was necessary to 
protect not only the freedmen, but also all Union men.^® Mr. 
Goodloe was opposed to the convention's taking any definite 
ground on. the subject. 

While this convention was holding its mieetings, Mr. Holden 
denied that there was any difference between the plans of the 
President and of Congress.^® The same day the Standard, 
acting upon the suggestion of a mass meeting in New Bern 
as expressed in its resolution, contained a call for a "loyal 
Union" convention to meet in Raleigh two weeks later. The 
New Bern meeting was presided over by Charles R. Thomas, 
but the resolutions were the work of the Northern settlers 
in the town. Resolutions of a similar nature, except that they 
demanded negro suffrage, had been passed in August by a 
meeting in Guilford which was controlled by A. W. Tourgee 
and G. W. Welker.^^ 

The convention thus called met on September 20th. It 
passed resolutions favoring the proposed Fourteenth Amend- 
ment to the Constitution of the United States, censuring Gov- 
ernor Worth's administration, declaring that only the unmis- 
takably loyal ought to hold office in North Carolina and nomi- y 
nating Alfred Dockery for governor. Mr. Holden addressed 
the body and outlined the reasons why the conditions of Con- 
gress should be accepted. He still, however, declared against 

89 Mr. Tourgee said at the same time that he had been lately in- 
formed "by a Quaker" that the bodies of fifteen negroes had been drag- 
ged out of one pond in Guilford County. He also said that 1,200 Union 
soldiers, who had settled in the State, had been forced to sacrifice their 
property and leave the State to save their lives^ Executive Letters, 
Worth, Vol. 2, p. 2. 

»o Standard, Sept 5, 1866. • * 

»i G. W. Welker was a minister from Pennsylvania. 


negro suffrage.®* A regular organization was begun, and 
here, for the first time since the war, there was a definite 
division into parties. The party formed now was the germ of 
the Republican party in North Carolina. 

Mr. Dockery declined to be a candidate, but expressed him- 
self as favorable to the Howard Amendment, in preference to 
risking the action of the next Congress. He also favored 
placing certain disabilities in the State and the retirement of 
those who could not take the "iron-clad" oath.®* Mr. Holden 
fearing the consequence to his organization if there should be 
no opposition, advised the people to vote for Dockery, regard- 
less of his refusal to run. 

The campaign, if ft can be so called, was devoid of interest. 
Governor Worth was re-elected, receiving a majority of 23,496 
out of a total vote of 44,994. Mr. Dockery carried nine coun- 
ties — among them Randolph, the home of Governor Worth. 
Richmond county, Mr. Dockery's home, was carried by Gov- 
ernor Worth. 

Every effort was now made by the radicals to paint as dark 
a picture as possible of the condition of affairs in the State. 
Petitions in great numbers, from various parts of the State, 
were sent to the President asking that protection might be 
given the signers from "rebel persecution." In the case of one 
petition, from Camden county, a copy was sent to Governor 
Worth. The petitioners claimed that persecution was carried 
on by means of indictments for acts performed during the 
war in the aid of the Union cause. An investigation was at 
once made by Judge Brooks, of the Federal Court, who dis- 
covered that only two of the fifty-six named had been indicted, 
and that the offense in those cases was retailing liquor without 
a license.®* Several attempts had been made to indict others 
for acts committed during the war, but no court would recog- 

»2 standard, Sept. 2B, 1866L 

»3 Ibid., Oct. 3, 1866. 

•4 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. 1, pp. 108-9. 


nize the matter. In the West wRere there was more ill feeling 
on account of the greater division in sentiment and the fact 
that the war had been there, in reality, civil war. It is not un- 
likely that cases of persecution occurred, but they were pri- 
vate. Careful investigations were made repeatedly by Judge 
Merrimon and other judges of the State courts into the truth 
of the charges without their being substantiated. The fact 
of the matter was that every criminal, against whom the 
State courts had an indictment, became at once, in his own 
eyes at least, a Union patriot, suffering for his devotion to his 
country, and this view was taken, apparently, by the opposition 
party in the State. 

The General Assembly, like its predecessor, was composed 
largely of old Whigs. Judge Manly was elected Speaker of 
the Senate, and R. Y. McAden Speaker of the House of Com- 
mons. Governor Worth, in his message, earnestly urged the 
rejection of the Fourteenth Amendment as dangerous and de- 
grading. He reviewed the condition of the State and sug- 
gested much necessary legislation. 

Judge Manly was elected to the United States Senate to 
succeed John Pool who, although he had voted for Worth in 
the last election, was suspected of favoring the radical policy, 
and had become exceedingly unpopular since his plea, at the 
time he sought admission to the United States Senate, that 
during the war he had sought and obtained election as a 
State Senator, only that he might embarrass the Confederate 
government. Soon after his defeat, Mr. Holden went on to 
Washington to join him there, declaring, before his departure, 
his opposition to the proposed amendment as not sufficiently 
stringent against traitors.®** 

Soon after the legislature assembled, a joint committee of 
both houses was constituted to report on the proposed Four- 
teenh Amendment. Its report, signed by twelve members, with 
only one member dissenting, was made within a few days. 

95 standard. Bee. 6, 1866. 


The committee stated that a number of radical changes in the 
fundamental law were proposed with no opportunity of ac- 
cepting one or more without ratifying all, and in strong terms 
expressed their disapproval of such a plan of amendment, 
which, they declared, was without precedent in the history of 
the country. They opposed the amendment, also as submit- 
ted in an unconstitutional manner, no representatives from 
eleven Southern States having taken part in its passage, after 
the same States had been recognized as parts of the Union; 
by Congress in the resolutions of July, 1861, declaring the 
object of the war, by acts apportioning taxation, assigning 
to the said State their respective number of representatives, 
readjusting the Federal judicial circuits, and accepting as 
valid the assent of Virginia to the division of the State; by the 
Judiciary in the hearing and decision of cases carried up from 
their courts; and by the Executive in approval of the acts of 
Congress before mentioned. The submission of the amend- 
ment was also advanced as an act of recognition. The com- 
mittee took the ground that if the votes of the Southern States 
were necessary to a valid ratification of the amendment, they 
were equally necessary on the question of submitting it to the 
States. Another ground of disapproval was the fact that 
the resolution containing the proposition to amend the Consti- 
tution had never been submitted to the President for his ap- 
proval. The committee disclaimed any spirit of caption sness 
or the advocacy of merely sectional interests, recognizing, how- 
ever, that the proposed amendment was designed to operate 
mainly upon the Southern States and was proposed only for 
that reason, but declared that the cause of free constitutional 
government was at stake, and that too much precaution could 
not be used. The various sections of the amendment were 
then taken up separately. 

The main criticism of the first section was regarding the 
lack of any definition of the "privileges and immunities" of 


citizens of the United States. The committee declared that 
the language of the section left the matter in too great doubt, 
for it might mean the privileges enjoyed in the past, or any 
others that the Federal Government might thereafter declare 
to belong to citizens. In such a case, the right of a State to 
regulate its internal affairs would be destroyed. 

In the second section, the committee claimed that the old 
right of the individual States to regulate the suffrage was 
impaired and the whole matter left in doubt, with an implica- 
tion in favor of the power of the Federal Government in the 
matter. The committee claimed that this clause, in conjunc- 
tion with the final one giving Congress power to enforce the 
article by appropriate legislation, was a dangerous innovation 
in that it would authorize the Federal Government to "come 
in as an intermeddler between a State and the citizens of a 
State in almost all conceivable cases, to supervise and inter- 
fere with the ordinary administration of justice in the State 
courts, and to provide tribunals — ^as has to some extent been 
already done in the Civil Rights Bill — ^to which an unsuc- 
cessful litigant or a criminal convicted in the courts of the 
State can make complaints that justice and the equal protec- 
tion of the laws have been denied him, and however ground- 
less may be his complaint, can obtain a rehearing of his case." 
This, it was urged, was calculated to bring the State courts 
into contempt and ultimately to transfer the administration of 
civil and criminal justice to the Federal courts. The same 
section was also opposed on account of the imposition of a 
penalty for any restriction of the suffrage, and the attempt 
thereby to bring about universal suffrage. The change in 
the basis of representation from population to voters was ob- 
jected to for its own sake as inconsistent with the theory of 
the political system which had always prevailed in the United 

The third section was opposed on account of the fact that 


it was directed against the South, and because thereby the 
majority of the mature men of the State, the committee 
thought, would be disqualified from holding office, and the 
whole State government would be overthrown. The com- 
mittee stated further as their opinion, that the people of North 
Carolina would prefer to commit their interests to Congress 
as then composed, than to intrust them to a class of men, no 
more loyal in most instances, whose only hope of political ad- 
vancement lay in the disqualification of better men. The 
power of Congress to remove disabilities was declared to be 
an interference with the pardoning power of the President, 
and was also opposed as placing too great a political power in 
the hands of Congress by which it might control elections in 
the States and even the State governments. 

The fourth section was declared useless on account of the 
intention of the people to pay the Federal debt and their de- 
termination that the Confederate debt should not be paid. So 
in regard to compensation for the slaves, the committee thought 
it injustice, but declared that the people of the South had 
never expected to be paid for them. 

The final section was opposed as opening too wide a door to 
Congressional interference, with the consequent centralization 
of power in the Federal Government. 

The committee also asked what guarantees North Carolina 
had, in the event that her people should yield up their honest 
convictions of duty in the hope of restoration and ratify the 
amendment, that such restoration would take place. They ex- 
pressed the opinion that ratification would not have any effect 
of the kind. As to the probability that more unwelcome and 
humiliating terms would be demanded, the committee, while 
asserting their belief that such would not be the case, declared, 
nevertheless, that if it were to be so, the State ought not to 
humiliate itself in the beginning by yielding to intimidation and 
ratifying a measure of which she disapproved. Consequently, 


with but one dissenting voice, the committee recommended the 
rejection of the amendment.®^ 

The report of the committee embodied the objections which 
had already been raised in the State and represented fairly the 
opinion of a majority in the State. Consequently when it 
reached the Senate it was adopted with only two dissenting 
votes. When the rejecting resolution came upon its passage, 
Mr. C. L. Harris, of Rutherford county, attempted to secure 
the substitution of a ratifying resolution. This was defeated, 
receiving only the vote of Mr. Harris. The resolution accept- 
ing the committee's report also received only his negative vote. 
Six other members had promised to vote with him, but failed 
him when the time came. In the House of Commons fifteen 
votes were cast against adopting the report, but only ten on the 
final passage of the rejecting resolution. 

C. L. Harris and D. A. Jenkins at once went to Washing- 
ton to join W. W. Hoi den and John Pool in the conference 
going on there with the radical leaders. On December 13th, 
the same day the amendment was rejected, Thaddeus Stevens 
had introduced in the House of Representatives, at the request 
of the North Carolinians, a bill providing for the reconstruc- 
tion of North Carolina, which had been prepared by James F. 
Taylor, John Pool, and W. W. Holden, and approved by the 
North iCarolina radicals.®^ This bill, after rehearsing the 
facts of secession, war, and Presidential reconstruction, and 
calling attention to the duty of Congress to preserve a repub- 
lican form of government in all the States, and in the "dis- 
trict" named, provided that, on May 20th, 1867, ^ convention 
of the loyal citizens of the "district formerly comprising the 
State of North Carolina" should meet in Raleigh and prepare 

»6J. M. Leach, H. T. Clark, H. M. Waugh, J. J. Davis, Thos. S. 
Kenan, J. H. P. Russ, Arch. McLean, Phillip Hodnett, J. M. Perry, 
J. Morehead, Jr., D. A. Covington, W. D. Jones signed the report. P. 
A. Wilson favored the ratification of the amendment. 

»7 Standard, Dec. 26, 1866. 


a constitution which should be afterwards submitted to Con- 
gress for approval. All male citizens of North Carolina who 
could read or write, or who owned real estate to the value of 
$ioo could vote. No person who formerly had the right to 
vote could be disqualified. No person could have a seat in 
the convention or hold any office under the new constitution 
without taking an oath that at all times, after March 4th, 1864, 
he would have complied with the terms of the President's proc- 
lamation of December 8th, 1863, providing for the restora- 
tion of the seceded States, had it been possible, and that, after 
that date he was opposed to the rebellion and Confederacy and 
gave no aid thereto, but desired the success of the Union. It 
was placed within the discretion of officers administering the 
oath to refuse to do so, when doubt existed in their minds as to 
the truth of the applicant's declarations. The existing State 
government was to cease at the pleasure of the convention. The 
provisions of the act were to be executed by the officials of the 
United States. The bill was referred and no report upon it 
was ever made. But Mr. Stevens later introduced the oath 
as an amendment to a general reconstruction bill, previously 
introduced. In this latter bill the oath was a prerequisite for 
voting.®^ This met with entire approval from Mr. Holden, 
for he had already decided that the original was too lenient 
and, in fact, he recommended some such change as was made.^® 
The House of Commons took notice of the charges that 
were constantly made that Union men were being persecuted 
in the courts. Mr. Blythe, a member, who made the charge 
on the floor of the House, was examined by a committee and 
testified that there was no use of the courts for persecution. He 
said that by persecution was meant, abuse of those who favored 
the Howard Amendment as being in favor of negro suffrage. 
Mr. Harris, although a member of the Senate, was also exam- 
ined and gave similar evidence. The committee's report, that 

08 Globe, 2nd sess. 39th Cong., p. 250. 
o» Standard, Dec. 25, 1866. 


justice was administered in the courts of the State, was unani- 
mously adopted.^^® Mr. Holden tried to create the impres- 
sion that the legislature was taking testimony in order to 
begin prosecutions for treason against the State.^®^ Mr. Har- 
ris proved that this was incorrect, but it furnished material for 
numerous appeals to Congress to rescue the Union men of 
the State from "rebel persecution for their unswerving loy- 
alty." That the majority in both houses of the legislature 
would have favored, if practicable, the punishment of those 
who were attempting to overthrow the existing State govern- 
ment, is undoubted, and it was frankly acknowledged on the 
floor of the House of Commons.^^^ To put a stop to the com- 
plaints of persecution in the courts and to go on record against 
anything of the kind, an amnesty act was passed, applying to 
both Federal and Confederate soldiers. This act was soon 
put into eflFect.'^^ 

A commission at Washington was authorized for the pur- 
pose of looking after State claims, or anything that might 
seem necessary to the Governor. According'ly Governor 
Worth appointed as the commission Nathaniel Boyden, Bed- 
ford Brown, P. H. Winston, J. M. Leach, A. S. Merrimon, 
and Lewis Hanes. John A. Gilmer, Thomas Ruffin, and D. L. 
Swain were also oflFered appointments, but declined. The com- 
mission went to Washington and, for part of the time, in com- 
pany with Governor Worth, investigated the condition of af- 
fairs. At first hopeful, they finally saw what would be the 
end of the struggle with Congress, and, after conferring with 
Governor Orr, of South Carolina, ex-Governor Parsons, of 
Alabama, Governor Marvin, of Florida, Judge J. T. James, of 
Arkansas, and some of the members of Congress, suggested 
a plan of compromise. This was an amendment to the Con- 

100 Journal, p. 215. 

101 Standard, Dec. 19, 1866. 

102 Journal and debates, Dec. 18, 1866. 

103 State V. Blalock, 61 N. C, 242. 


stitution of the United States, designed to replace the Howard 
Amendment. It added a section declaring the Union perpetual, 
dropped the section imposing disabilities, and, while retaining 
the connection of apportionment of representation and suf- 
frage, limited the power of the States to impose property and 
intelligence qualifications. A part of the compromise plan 
was an amendment to the State Constitution. This extended 
the franchise in accordance with the other amendment. 

The scheme was received with no enthusiasm and, after 
being introduced in the legislature as a substitute for a reso- 
lution proposing a national convention, was withdrawn. It 
would, however, have been passed, in all probability, but for 
the feeling that further humiliation would be required and 
that it was useless to attempt to do anything but save self 
respect.^^* A bill calling a convention of the people was 
then passed, but without the required majority.^^*^ The reso- 
lution proposing a national convention also passed both houses, 
only the extreme radicals voting against it. The proceedings 
of the session were marked by extreme bitterness, the debates 
being stormy, with evidence of the most intense party feeling. 
The radical element, while in a minority, were strong enough 
to give trouble to the conservatives. But all their efforts to 
produce any acton approving the plans of Congress failed. 

In the meantime, the various changes in position of the 
"straitest sect" or "Loyal Union" party, as they now called 
themselves, had finally broug^ht them all to the extreme posi- 
tion of the Northern radicals. On December 26th, 1866, Mr. 
Holden wrote the Albany Evening Journal, taking strong 
ground for negro suffrage and saying, in conclusion, "The 
rebel leaders, who are controlling these States, are totally re- 
gardless of political duty, and totally bent on mischief. You 
must govern them, or they will at last again govern you."^®' 

104 Governor Worth to Governor Orr, Feb. 27, 1867. 

106 Journal, pp. 387-93; March 1, 1867. 

106 Quoted in the Wilmington Journal, Jan. 7, 1867. 


And on January ist, 1867, at a meeting of the negroes in the 
African church in Raleigh, he declared himself in favor of 
unqualified negro suffrage, and introduced a resolution re- 
questinsf Congress to reorganize the State government on the 
basis of "loyal white and black suffrage." ^®^ For the future, 
or as long as he was in political life,^®® he promoted negro 
suffrage as violently as, in the past, he had opposed it. He 
at once commenced the preparation of petitions to Congress 
praying that negro suffrage might be established, and circu- 
lated them among both black and white. 

Beginning now, with the new year, there followed a cam- 
paign based, as similar ones before, on the supposed alarming 
conditions in the State. The life and property of all Union 
men were declared to be in extreme danger, unless Congress 
should interfere at once in their behalf. Those conducting the 
campaign hinted at severe measures and Mr. Holden said that 
he regretted that the property of about five hundred persons 
in each State had not been confiscated, and that eight or ten 
of the leaders in each State had not been executed.^®^ Later 
he said that confiscation was a possibility, and even a proba- 
bility. Already many of his followers were demanding it in 
the hope that they would profit thereby.^^^ 

The whole State was excited and uneasy. Doubt as to the 
outcome of the struggle between the President and Congress 
had almost entirely disappeared, and the only question was, 
how far Congress would go in the destruction of the institu- 
tions of the Southern States. In the western part of the State, 
A. H. Jones was leading in an effort to secure from Congress 
the division of the State, so that the Union men of the west 

107 Sentinel, Jan. 3, 1867. Standard, Jan. 9, 1867. 

108 In later years he changed his opinion again. 

109 Standard, Jan. 9, 1867. 

110 Ibid., Jan. 16, 1867. The previous autumn Mr. Holden said 
confiscation would be the result of a failure to ratify the Fourteenth 


could protect themselves from the "rebels" of the east. In 
this turmoil and excitement, the news came of the passage of 
the Reconstruction Act and the establishment of the military 

4. Economic and Financial Problems. 

Before taking up the consequences of these extreme meas- 
ures, it is important to trace the general course of economic 
and social transformation during the period of the Presidential 

Secretary Seward, in his letter notifying Governor Holden 
of his appointment, stated that his salary and the other ex- 
penses of the provisional government would be paid out of the 
contingent fund of the War Department. This was due to 
the fact that the provisional government was dependent on 
the military power of the President. It was well for the 
State that it was so, for financial conditions were deplorable 
and the people were at the time unable to bear a tax that 
would pay the running expenses of the State government. The 
expenses of the convention were, of course, met by the State. 
Immediately before the close of hostilities the State owned a 
very large quantity of cotton and rosin. Secretary Seward, 
on July 8th, informed Governor Holden that the State could 
take possession of this property and use it for the necessary 
expenses of government.' But a large part of it had been 
taken by the troops after the close of hostilities and turned 
over to the agent of the Treasury, and Secretary McCuUoch 
had directed that it should be shipped North. But after he 
had been informed of the financial condition of the State, he 
consented that the "ungathered debris" might be collected and 
used by the State, and he accordingly directed his agents not 
to be too inquisitorial in their work.^^^ 

Ill House Reports, 1st sess. 40th Cong. MeCuUoch's testimony in 
impeachment investigation. 


Mr. Worth took charge of its collection and found a con- 
siderable amount. The rosin was particularly valuable, for it 
was still in beds and untouched. Comparatively little cotton 
was secured, for most of what was left by the government 
agents was stolen by individuals in the State or from the 
North. Redress was impossible for lack of testimony against 
the persons suspected. The records of collection have been 
lost, but the sale of the rosin and cotton so gathered brought 
about $150,000. Of this amount, after the expenses of the 
convention and many other demands upon the State had been 
paid', there remained $40,000. 

Even after collection, losses were frequent. An agent was 
sent to Georgia to collect State cotton, and at great expense 
got together seventy bales. It was hauled to the depot and 
while awaiting shipment, it was seized by a Treasury agent, 
and the Department declined to return it. Elsewhere in Georgia 
421 bales were seized by the government with the same re- 
sult.^^^ And when property was safely in the possession of 
the State, a close watch was necessary. Soon after Governor 
Worth went into office, he discovered that Dr. Sloan, who 
had succeeded him as Provisional Treasurer, had instructed the 
firm of Swepson, Mendenhall & Co., of New York, who were 
selling the State cotton, to sell all on hand to A. J. Jones, a 
member of the State Senate, for 33 cents per pound. The 
market price on the day the instructions were given was 47 1-2 
cents. No money passed at the transaction, for the cotton was 
at once sold at the market price and the net amount of $2,224.44 
paid to Jones. Governor Worth investigated the matter at 
once and Jones refunded the amount, declaring that he had 
decided to do so before the investigation was commenced.^^* 

112 The United States later refunded the price of these two lots 
amounting to nearly $50,000. House Reports No. 7, 45th Cong., 3rd 

113 Legislative Docs. 1865-66, No. 13. 



The State also owned property of considerable value in Eng- 
land, but from various causes, including fraud, nothing was 
ever realized from it. 

Every bank in the State, after the repudiation of the war 
debt, was forced into liquidaticwi. The Bank of North Caro- 
lina, the most important in the State, compromised with its 
creditors at about 36 per cent. The Bank of Cape Fear paid 
only 25 per cent. Later some of the creditors who had refused 
to compromise recovered the full value of their notes. All 
the banks were in better condition than might have been ex- 
pected. But the tax on notes prevented any attempt at reor- 
ganization being made. Owing to the lack of capital, new 
banks came very slowly. Three national banks at Charlotte, 
Raleigh, and Fayetteville were established during the period of 
Presidential reconstruction. 

All these things had their effect upon the condition of the 
people at large. This was already serious enough. The 
coimtry, wherever it had been touched by the invading armies, 
was stripped of everything of value that could be carried 
away and had attracted the notice of the soldiers. This was 
particularly the case along the line of Sherman's march. 
Horses and cattle had been taken away and some killed from 
pure w?intonness.^^* A considerable shrinkage is noticeable in 
the number in the State as compared with i860. The follow- 
ing table gives the figures :^^^ 

i860. 1866. 1868. 

No. of horses 150,661 99,436 98,441 

No. of mules 51,388 32,560 32,885 

No. of milch cattle. . . . 228,623 203,555 263,55s 

No. of oxen, etc 465,187 292,921 287,062 

No. of sheep 546,749 339*259 325,684 

No. of swine 883,214 i,i6o3i6 975,085 

Value live stock $31,130,805 $22,946,758 $20,052456 

114 Last Ninety Days of the War, p. 43. 

115 These estimates are gathered from the reports of the Department 
of Agriculture. 



The decrease in numbers and value shown in 1868, when the 
report was mbrc accurate, forces the conclusion that the figures 
for 1866 were the result of an over-estimate. 

The troops in their march through the State left worn-out 
horses and took good ones wherever found. The worn-out 
stock had scarcely become of value to those holding it, when 
orders were issued by the Quartermaster General for its col^ 
lection and sale.^^* Numerous protests were at once made* 
In December, 1865, Secretary McCulloch had ordered that 
such horses and mules should not be taken, but this latter order 
superseded that, and all horses that were branded with either 
the United States or Confederate marks were seized. The 
best terms obtainable were that wherever possible they should 
be sold in the counties where they were seized. Great hardship 
was produced by this seizure of stock, particularly as, at the 
time, the direct tax of 1861 was being collected, and the people 
had been drained of all ready money. The total amount of the 
tax collected before July, 1866, when an act was passed sus- 
p^iding further collection for two years, was $394,847.63. The 
quota of the State was $576, 194.66.^^'' 

Crops in large areas had been destroyed by the horses which 
had been turned out to rest and fatten. Fences were gone and 
often stables and other farm buildings, and even, in some 
cases, the dwellings, were destroyed. The latter, however, 
was the exception. Vehicles of every description had almost 
disappeared. The path of the main army was comparatively 
limited, but foraging parties, during and immediately after 
the war, penetrated to almost every portion of the State. The 
Treasury agents followed, and by June, 1865, ^^d collected 
abandoned or captured private property which sold for nearly 
$80,000. During the remainder of the year $14,000 was 

iitf Uxeeotive Letters, Worth, Vol. 1, p. II. 
111^ Report of the Secretary of the Treasory, 18^6, p. 62. 
118 Ibid, 1865. By January, 1865, property, excluding cotton, worth 
$201,164.42 had been seized. 


To alleviate the distress which followed inevitably from the 
conditions outlined, a great deal was done by the Federal army 
and the Freedmen's Bureau. Rations were issued to the white 
people as well as to the negroes, and in this way many families 
were literally kept from starvation. Large sums of money 
were received from the North in 1866 and 1867, and grain and 
provisions as well. Fortunately the crops in 1865, which had 
been planted before the end of the war, were unusually good. 
The fruit crop, particularly, was immense. The crops of the 
next two years were poor. In fact, in 1867, the cotton crop 
was a complete failure and the food crops much smaller than 
in the preceding year. The estimated value of the com, 
wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, tobacco and hay 
in the State in 1866 was $45,551,450. The next year it was 

The large loss in the male population consequent upon the 
war and the great number of disabled, naturally accounted for 
a falling off in production. But when, in addition, it is con- 
sidered that the status of the chief laboring class had been en- 
tirely changed and that the majority of that class were making 
their freedom evident to themselves by abstaining as much as 
possible from labor, it is not wonderful that, apart from bad 
seasons, the crops should have been poor. The whole matter 
of labor was very much unsettled from the nature of the 
great changes that had taken place, and the disturbance was 
increased by the constant interference of the Freedmen's 
Bureau in the contracts and arrangements made, as well as 
by its general influence in creating the dissatisfaction among the 

The actual conditions regarding labor are very difficult to 
ascertain, owing to the chaotic situation in the State. In 1865 
it was difficult in North Carolina, and indeed all over the 
South, to obtain laborers, on account of the belief held by the 
negroes that land would be given them by the United States 


Govemment.^^* However, when Christmas passed and the 
new year began without any gifts, this belief was largely aban- 
doned and necessity compelled those who were waiting for 
"forty acres and a mule" to find employment.*^® The con- 
tracts made in 1865 were very vague, but the disposition of the 
land owners to treat their employees fairly led to a gradual 
increase in the number made. But long-time contracts were 
unpopular on account of the suspicion the negroes felt at their 
condition and, in many instances, distrust of their former 
owners. Indeed, in very many cases, the negroes left their old 
masters and hired themselves to others, at times on planta- 
tions immediately adjoining. This was in part due to a desire 
to have some visible evidence of freedom. 

The contract system, in general, worked badly on account of 
the tendency of the negroes to stop work, often when they 
were most needed. Many farmers found it more profitable to 
hire only for a short period and pay wages. The average 
rate was about $10 per month for men and $6 for women. The 
tendency of wages during the period was downward, and in 
1867 the average was lower.^^* The majority of the people, 
however, had no ready money to pay wages and' the system of 
working "on shares," in spite of its many disadvantages, of 
necessity, resulted. The usual plan was for the farmer to fur- 
nish the stock, feed and implements and the tenant to furnish 
the labor. The crop was divided between them, the propor- 
tion each received varying according to the nature of the crop 
and the section of the State. The share the tenant received 
varied from one-fourth to one-half. As examples of the 
working of the system, the following seem fair: 

119 General Grant thought this belief had been started by the Bureau 
agents. See his report to the President in 1865. 

120 Report of Asst. Commissioner, Sen. Ex. Docs. No. 27, p. 17, 1st 
sess. 39th Cong. 

121 Report Dept. of Agriculture 1867. Report Freedmen's Bureau 
1866. Sen. Ex. Docs. No. 6, p. 104, 2nd sess. 39th Cong. 


In Stanly county a farmer in i860 had kept six male hands, 
two women and several children on a plantation of 160 acres. 
With the help of six horses, he made an average crop of 
twenty bales of cotton, 150 barrels of corn, 50 bushels of rye, 
besides roots, hay, and garden vegetables. In 1866 he divided 
bis farm into three lots, the land being of the same quality in 
each. The first he put in charge of the most intelligent of his 
former slaves with his wife and four children, old enough to 
work. The owner supplied two mules, feed, and all the tools 
required. Apart from the expenses of his family, there was 
no charge on the tenant. The second lot was given to two 
good married hands and supplied as the first. The third was 
given to the son of the owner, who hired a colored man for a 
share of the crop. The rent in each case was one-half the 
crop. Each tenant was left to his own judgment in the choice 
of the crop to be planted. The result was that the crops pro- 
duced by the freedmen were small, less than 40 barrels of com, 
60 bushels of wheat, 100 bushels of oats and four bales of cot- 
ton between them. They had gone so far into debt for pro- 
visions that only a little com and wheat was left as their share, 
with no money to begin another crop. The owner's son made 
as much as both the freedmen together and hi» crop was re- 
garded as below the average. But another side is seen in 
another case in the same county. Two families of colored 
people, composed of six men, two women, and four children, 
undertook to plant a farm of 125 acres. In spite of the bad 
season, they raised 100 barrels of com, 200 bushels of wheat, 
100 bushels of oats, 25 bushels of peas, 75 bushels of pota- 
toes, and about 4,000 pounds of ginned cotton. The value of 
the crop was $1,800, and they received a half.^^^ It is safe to 
say, however, that the efforts of the freedlmen, unless under 
white direction, for the most part resulted in failure and disas- 
ter. In consequence of the war and these conditions, real es- 

122 Report of Dept of Agriculture 1867. 


tate between i860 and 1867 h^id decreased in value nearly 
fifty per cent.^^* 

Just as the repudiation of the war debt wrecked the banks, 
it destroyed many private fortunes and reduced thousands from 
comfort to extreme poverty. Business was at a standstill for 
lack of money and the people were utterly unable to meet their 
obligations. A complicated "stay law" was passed by the con- 
vention of 1865.^^* This did not go far enough, and the legis- 
lature passed another, which was declared unconstitutional by 
the courts.^^'^ As regards the debts due by individuals to 
creditors in the North, some had been collected under the Con- 
federate sequestration act. When the creditors entered their 
claims, the debtors pleaded their forced payment to the Con- 
federacy as a release. The question was argued before the 
United States Circuit Court in session at Raleigh and Chief 
Justice Chase held that the payment was no discharge of the 
debt.^^® War contracts also caused dispute, but the Supreme 
Court of the State held that they were valid.^^^ 

To promote a general economic improvement, efforts were 
made to induce immigration from the Northern States. In 
the fall of 1865 hostile feeling was fast dying out and the 
people seemed genuinely anxious for Northern people to 
come into the State. But when it looked most favorable for 
an influx of new population, the campaign of misrepresentation 
for political purposes began and deterred many from coming. 
Probably the great cause of their failure to come was the 
presence of the negro. The experience of those who did come 
was not such as to strengthen them in the belief that they 
could profitably engage in agriculture with the existing condi- 

123 Report Dept. of Agriculture, 1867. 

124 Ordinances 1866, p. 31. 

125 This was a decision in the Superior Court. It never reached the 
Supreme Court. 

128 Shortridge v. Macon, 1 Abbot TJ. S., 58. 
127 Phillips v. Hooker, 62 N. C, 193. 


tions of labor. Whatever was the cause, too few came to have 
any appreciable effect as agents in the economic rehabilitation 
of the State. Few as they were, however, their political in- 
fluence, in the period which followed, was great enough to de- 
lay improvement for many years. 

5. Transportation and the Mails. 

At the beginning of the war there were about 890 miles of 
railroad in the State. During the war the construction of a 
military road from Greensboro to Danville added about 50 
miles to this. The most important of the systems in opera- 
tion were the North Carolina, Raleigh and Gaston, the Atlan- 
tic and North Carolina, and the Wilmington and Weldon. 
The State owned a large interest in each of the three first men- 
tioned. All these roads were seized by the United States army 
and used as military lines. Largely to this is due the fact 
that the roads were in condition for immediate operation at 
the close of hostilities ; for during this period of military occu- 
pation, an extensive work of repair and improvement was 
kept up on all the roads. They were all under the control of 
the Department of Military Railroads, which had been created 
for the management and operation of the captured roads in the 
South. Some idea of what was done in North Carolina can 
be gathered from the following tables :^^^ 

Name. From 

Atlantic and North Carolina, Morehead City 
Wilmington and Weldon, Wilmington 
North Carolina, Goldsboro 

Raleigh and Gaston, Raleigh 

Total, 292. 

128 Off. Rec. No. 126, p. 968. 

120 The road from Raleigh to Hillsboro, forty miles in length, was 
restored at once, leaving forty-nine miles under military control, the 
portion from Hillsboro to Charlotte never having been seized. 


in Miles 





Hillsboro, '» 


Cedar Creek, 



Cost of bridges. 

Track Laid. 

Br'dg's Built. 

track and main- 



Lineal Feet. 

tenance of way. 

Atlantic and North Carolina, 




Wilmington and Weldon, 



110, 243. 05 

North Carolina, 




Raleigh and Gaston, 



13, 566. 32 




Other expenses for labor, rolling stock, and the like, brought 
the amount expended during the period to $2,596,660.05, a 
small amount compared to that spent in some of the other mili- 
tary departments. 

In spite of this the condition of the roads was not good, 
for the rebuilt bridges and track were only temporary. The 
North Carolina road had well equipped shops and was prob- 
ably in better condition than any of the others. It suffered 
less .damage from the two armies and also received less in 
the way of repairs. The road ran from Goldsboro to Char- 
lotte, a distance of 228 miles. At the close of the war it had 
twenty-one engines, all in good condition, and had lost only 
one since i860, but the rest of its rolling stock had become 
scanty in amount and poor in condition. Four engines had 
been bought from the Confederate government, but the Balti- 
more and Ohio road claimed them and the engines were de- 
livered to it by the United States. The road-bed was in fair 
condition, but seven bridges had been lost by fire in 1865, two 
having been burned by incendiaries, three by the Confederate 
and two by the Federal army. The warehouses, tanks, and 
stations at Salisbury and High Point were burnt bv Stoneman, 
the station and warehouses at Raleigh by retreating Confed- 
erate soldiers the day Sherman occupied the town, and the 
warehouse at Goldsboro accidentally by Federal soldiers. The 
estimated cost of repairing this damage was $75,000. 

The road was restored to the company in October. Reor- 
ganization had already taken place under the provisional gov- 


eminent. The financial condition of the company was at 
first thought to be very good, but investigation showed that 
this was an error. The Confederacy had owed the road 
$1,379,941, of which $600,000 had been paid in old metal — 
brass and iron — and a further reduction had been made by the 
transfer of a part interest in the Navy Department's machine 
shops at Charlotte. The State also owed the road a large 
debt, which could be met by repaying the dividends received 
from the State's interest in the road. From securities of a 
nominal value of $351,535 only $14,324 could be realized. It 
owed, in addition to its current accounts and capital stock, 
about $350,000. 

Great dependence was put by this road on a large amount of 
cotton, over eight hundred bales, which had been purchased in 
1863 ^^^ stored in South Carolina. In 1866, a committee of 
investigation reported that a large part of it had been lost or 
stolen. The same committee, after looking into the manage- 
ment of the sinking fund, reported a case of fraud prac- 
ticed there resulting in great loss to the road. In July, 1864, 
the road had $58,000 in North Carolina ante-war bonds, "old 
sixes" as they were called. In the latter part of the year, 
George W. Swepson contracted to exchange new State bonds 
for the old, at the rate of two for one, to the amount of 
$25,000. Later he contracted for the remainder at the same 
rate. January 12th, 1865, ^^e directors ordered that no more 
of the old bonds should be disposed of, except for the bonds 
of the corporation. Notwithstanding the fact that Swepson 
had not attempted in any way to carry out his part of the 
contract, which was verbal, the commissioners of the sinking 
fund' allowed him to deliver the new bonds after General 
Johnston's surrender had made them practically worthless. He 
bought them for the exchange at three per cent of their face 

130 Report of the legislative committee on N. C. R. R. Report of 
N. C. R. R. for 1867. The information regarding the railroads not 
otherwise annotated, is from their annual reports. 


The United States controlled half of the Atlantic and North 
Carolina road, including its shops and offices at New Bern, 
after March, 1862. After April, 1865, the whole foad was 
thus controlled. After the corporation was reorganized in 
the summer of 1865, the President, Charles R. Thomas, ap- 
plied for the restoration of the road, at the same time present- 
ing a bill for $319,500 for its use, and serving notice that 
after September 15th, $50,000 per month would be charged. 
But as more than $175,000 had been spent for material and 
labor, the government refused to pay anything. The roaH was 
not surrendered until the immense stores at Morehead and 
Beaufort had been moved over it. This work was completed 
in October and the road was then delivered to the corporation. 
At the same time it bought rolling stock and materials from 
the government amounting to over $50,000 in value. 

The Wilmington and Weldon road was restored in August. 
Property to the amount of $50,000 was bought from the gov- 

The Raleigh and Gaston road was restored early in May. 
Its finances were in better condition, probably, than those of 
any other road in the State. 

The Western North Carolina Railroad was never controlled 
and operated by the military forces, but it suffered from raid- 
ers, so far as track and equipment were concerned. The great- 
est loss it sustained was at Salisbury, where all the buildings 
and shops were destroyed by Stoneman. The road was un- 
finished and steps were at once taken to continue the work of 
construction westward. Bonds were issued by the State in 
1866 to the amount of $50,000 for the benefit of the road and 
stock received in payment. This was insufficient and the 
State was again appealed to. This, however, belongs to a 
later period. 

All the roads suffered in 1866 and 1867 from the impover- 
ished condition of the people. The poor crops made the 
freight traffic very light. This was only temporary, and the 


recovery of the roads was steady for some years. It was 
interrupted by events in the State in the period which now 
followed. The connection of the roads with politics was a 
great disadvantage. Every change of administration brought 
a change of the officers of the road, the State controlling a 
majority of stock in several of the most important. 

Closely connected with the railroads was the matter of the 
mails. The United States mail service ceased in North Caro- 
lina in May, 1861. Many of the persons employed by the 
Post-office Department entered that of the Confederacy. Most 
of the funds belonging to the government were turned over 
to the Confederacy. The total amount was $37,770.42.^^^ The 
larger part of this was collected when the war closed.^^^ Im- 
mediately after the organization of the provisional government, 
the Postmaster General, in obedience to the directions of the 
President's proclamation of May 29th, notified Governor Hol- 
den that he was ready to reorganize the mail service as soon 
as arrangements could be made with the railroads. By No- 
vember fourteen routes were in operation, supplying the ser- 
vice to a large part of the State. But there was constant 
trouble with the railroads on account of the small stim paid for 
transportation, and the uncertain and poor service of the 
roads made the mail facilities exceedingly bad. The difficulty 
of securing persons to fill the offices under the requirements of 
the law also delayed a return to good service. It was several 
years before an adequate one was established. 

131 Of this $12,391.38 was due from the seven presidential offices in 
the State: Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, Groldsboro, Greensboro, New Bern, 
Raleigh and Wilmington. Report of the Postmaster-Greneral for 1865. 

132 Report of the Postmaster General for 1866. 




I, The Reconstruction Acts, 

The experiment, if it be so called, of restoration on the plan 
laid down by the President, lacked, from the standpoint of the 
individual States concerned, but one thing to be successful. 
Within these States the various departments of government, 
when free from outside interference, exercised their normal 
functions apparently in the manner prescribed by law and 
custom. But the relations of these States to the United States 
were abnormal by reason of the refusal of Congress to receive 
their representatives. Recognition of the existing State gov- 
ernments by the legislative branch of the general government 
was utterlj[Jacking. 

^'TEerewere many things which, united, caused the existence 
of this condition of affairs. Congress, before the close of hos- 
tilities, had clearly shown and expressed the opinion that the 
matter of the reconstruction of the seceded States was a ques- 
tion the solution of which properly belonged to Congress. 
The reason of this, beyond jealousy for the prerogatives of the 
legislative branch of the government, encroached upon by the 
executive branch during the war, was largely the difference 
which appeared between the view held by the majority of the 
members and that held by the President of the results of the 
war, particularly as related to the status of the seceded States 
and the treatment of the freedmen. This difference increased 
after the death of President Lincoln and the succession of 
President Johnson. A combination of sentimentalism and 
of solicitude for the future welfare of the Republican party 
caused the radical element of that party to demand that the 
suffrage should be extended to the lately emancipated slaves. 


This demand formed' a basis of opposition to the President.* 
At first the many differences of opinion in the party and a 
desire to avoid an open rupture with the President made a 
policy of waiting advisable, if not actually necessary. In this 
period of delay a consolidation of opinion took place which 
enabled the radicals to cope with the President successfully 
when the occasion arose. 

In pursuance of this policy of delay a resolution was passed 
providing for a joint committee of both houses on the condi- 
tion of the States lately in insurrection. The committee was 
chosen and to it were referred all matters relating to the 
States in question.^ When at the opening of Congress the 
delegations from the Southern States presented themselves 
as has been seen, no action was taken at first, and finally a 
resolution introduced ~ by Mr. Stevens was passed by both 
houses, forbidding the admission of members from any of the 
eleven Southern States until Congress should formally have 
declared such a State entitled to representation.^ During the 
period which elapsed before the reconstruction committee re- 
ported finally many individual bills were reported by it and con- 
sidered in Congress. Through this discussion the policy of 
Congress was finally outlined and developed. In the meantime 
an investigation was being made by the committee of the condi- 
tion of affairs in the South. 

Investigations into the conditions existing in the Southern 
States had already been made. General Grant, with the ap- 
proval of the President and the Secretary of War in Novem- 
ber, 1865, visited Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. His 

1 Dunning, Essays on Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 80. 

2 The membership of the committee was as follows : Majority, Sen- 
ators Fessenden, Grimes, Harris, Howard and Williams, and Representa- 
tives Stevens, Washburne, Morrill, Bingham, Conkling, Boutwell and 
Blow. Minority, Senator Johnson, and Representatives Grider and 

3 This resejfufion passed tlie House February 20, 1868, ami the BeOr 
ate March 2, 1866. 


report was altogether fayorabk to the Presifdent's policy, both 
as to conditions and as to the feeling existing among the people 
towards the general government. The two questions which 
had hitherto divided the two sections — slavery and the right 
of secession — he thought were regarded as finally settled by 
arms, and the people were ready to accept the decision in good 
faith. War had left such a condition that military occupation 
was necessary for the time to preserve order; but the mere 
presence of a military force, however small, was sufficient for 
the purpose. Colored troops should be entirely withdrawn 
as they were provocative of trouble. He expressed the belief 
that the people were anxious to return to self-government in 
the Union and were ready to do what the government required 
of them, provided it was not humiliating. He criticised the 
administration of the Freedmen's Bureau, bearing witness at 
the same time to the good accomplished by it.* 

Two other commissioners, Carl Schurz, a major-general in 
the volunteer service, and Benjamin C. Truman, a civilian, also 
came south at different times. Neither of them came to 
North Carolina, and it is sufficient to say of their reports that 
Mr. Schurz was more gloomy regarding conditions than Gen- 
eral Grant had been, and his report consequently was more 
to the taste of the radicals.'* Mr. Truman on the other hand 
found everything most encouraging for a perfect restoration 
of peace and order.® President Johnson sent the two former 
reports to the Senate with a message reviewing the conditions 
in the South. All was without effect, for the message and 
the report of General Grant were regarded, as Senator Sumner 
expressed it, as "whitewashing," "^ and they did not c(Mitain 
the sort of information desired by the radicals. To obtain 
the desired indictment of the presidential policy and of the 

4 Sen. Docs. No. 2, p. 106^ 1st san. 39th Coi^. 

6 Ibid, p|x. 1-106. 
• Ibid, Not 43. 

7 Annual Cyclopaedia 1866, p. 187. 


South an itivestigation of their own was made. Sub-commiti 
tees of the Reconstruction Committee were appointed to take 
evidence from the different States. The sub-committee for 
North Carolina and also for Virginia, South Carolina and 
Georgia was composed of Messrs. Conkling, Howard and 
Blow. The testimony for North Carolina, however, was all 
taken by Mr. Howard. He remained in Washington and 
summoned such witnesses as he desired. In March ex-Gov- 
ernor Graham, who had been elected to the United States 
Senate, wrote to Senator Fessenden and asked that, as a 
claimant for a seat and as a representative of North Carolina, 
he might be present at the investigations of the committee 
and be allowed to cross-examine the witnesses and produce 
evidence. Mr. Fessenden responded that the first two parts 
of the request could not be granted, but that the committee 
would be glad to examine any witnesses he might suggest.* 
Mr. Graham was much disturbed because so far as he could dis- 
cover, only one witness from North Carolina had been examined 
and he not a native, but an officer of the army and an agent 
of the Freedmen's Bureau. It later appeared that there were 
several more who had been examined. Possibly the protest 
had some effect in causing the examination of additional wit- 

In all twelve witnesses were examined by the committee for 
North Carolina. Of these only one was a native of the State.® 
Two had lived in the State prior to i860, both ministers of 
the gospel and agents* of the Bureau.^*^ Eight were or had 

8 The testimony will be found in House Report Na 30, part 2, 1st 
sess. 39th Cong. 

» Bedford Brown. 

10 Rev. Jas. Sinclair and Rev. Hope Bain. The former had been a 
lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate service, but on account of disgrace- 
ful conduct at the battle of New Bern was dropped by his regiment at 
re-organization in 1862. He informed the committee that he had given 
up his commission because he would not take part against the United 


been officers in the Union army, and of these six were con- 
nected with the Bureau. ^^ The other witness was a newspaper 
editor who had been a war correspondent of the New York 
Herald until the capture of Wilmington/^ Most of the testi- 
mony,, as might be expected, painted a dark picture of condi- 
tions. Most of the witnesses agreed that the freedmen were ' 
hated by the whites, and without the protection of troops 
would again be enslaved; that there was a secret but intense 
hostility to the United States government; that without pro- 
tection Northern men and all Unionists would be unsafe in 
the State ;^^ and tfiat Northern people were disliked, and as a 
rule not received socially. What value this latter fact, true 
as it undoubtedly was, had as evidence regarding political 
conditions would be hard to say. One witness complained that 
no approach to equality was allowed the freedmen;^* another 
thought that every Southern man was opposed to granting the 
negroes equal rights in the courts, and that there was a 
prejudice in the courts against the holding of property in land 
by a negro.^^ A majority of those questioned about the mat- 
ter thought the people favored the repudiation of the war 
debt of the State,^^ and most of them noted, apparently with 
surprise, that men who had distinguished themselves as Con- 
federate soldiers were very popular with the people. Major 
Lawrence, formerly an agent of the Freedmen 's Bureau and 
an Illinois Republican, dissented entirely from the unfavor- 

11 Lieut. G. O. Sanderson, Col. E. Whittlesey, Capt. H. A. Cooke, 
Col. D. A. Clapp, Col. J. A. Campbell, Col. W. H. H. Beadle, Maj. H. 
C. Lawrence and J. W. Alvord. 

12 Thomas M. Cook. 

13 Col. Whittlesey and Maj. Lawrence dissented from this and stated 
that there was no danger of violence. 

14 Testimony of G. O. Sanderson, p. 173. 

15 Testimony of W. H. H. Beadle, p. 265. 

16 Testimony of Sinclair, Brown, Whittlesey, Cook and Lawrence; for 
the other view see Cooke and Campbell. 

13 : : : ' : ^r 


able testimony given by the other witnesses. He expressed 
the belief and offered proof that Northern men in the State 
were entirely safe, quoting General Abbott/^ who said, "Tell 
them (the committee) that a Northern man is just as safe 
anywhere in the State of North Carolina as he is anywhere in 
the North. I do not say that a man cannot come here and 
act so without sense and discretion that he will get into diffi- 
culty with the people ; he can do that anywhere. But a man 
who comes here and attends to his own business and does not 
take some pains to make himself odious, I think, is as safe here 
as anywhere else." ^^ Major Lawrence thought that the peo- 
ple generally had accepted the result of the war and were pre-, 
pared to show it by their acts, including full protection to the 

The testimony so far has been analyzed merely to show its 
general character. It probably had no effect upon the opinion 
of the committee or upon the final result of their work. Nor 
is it likely that any such effect was intended. The object of 
the appointment of the committee had been, largely, to gain 
time while plans of legislation might be formed, independently 
of the result of any investigation such as was thus conducted. 

17 A Northern man who had settled in Wilmington. 

18 Testimony, p. 290. 

19 Ibid, p. 289. Major Lawrence's examination was suggested to the 
committee by Hon. Reverdy Johnson at the instance of Hon. Robert S. 
Hale, of New York. Probably his arraignment of the Freedmen's Bu- 
reau, an extract of which is here given, was the cause. Major Law- 
rence said, "I confess that I am tired out and half worn out with the 
annoyances of my position and need rest; and am so far from having 
any sympathy with the views that seem to prevail in Congress that I 
am unwilling to be a humble instrument in carrying them out. * * * 
I felt ashamed for myself as an American and for my government 
when, a few days ago. Judge Buxton, of the Supreme fsic] Court of 
this State called at my office to inquire as to the extent of jurisdiction 
he would be permitted to exercise in a term he was about to hold." 
Globe, pp. 1483-4, Ist sess. 39th Cong. 


The mass of the testimony collected was to be used later as a 
justification and defence of the plan of reconstruction formu- 
lated and proposed, and also to secure the support' of the 
North by means of the effect it would have upon the minds of 
the people. 

The committee made its report in June, 1866. The majority 
report declared that the seceded States at the close of hos- 
tilities had been in a state of complete anarchy, without gov- 
ernments or the power to frame them except by permission 
of the victors. The plan of restoration adopted by the Presi- 
dent was approved as a temporary military expedient for pre- 
serving* order. The President's recommendation to Congress 
that these States should be admitted to representation was 
declared to have been based on incomplete evidence. When he 
made it, he had not withdrawn the military forces or restored 
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and he still exercised 
over the people of these States military power and jurisdiction. 
Moreover the report alleged, in all the seceded States, except 
perhaps Arkansas and Tennessee, the elections for State officers 
and members of Congress "had resulted almost universally in 
the defeat of candidates who had been true to the Union, and in 
the election of notorious and unpardoned rebels who could 
not take the prescribed oath and made no secret of their hos-* 
tility to the government and people of the United States." 

From the evidence which it had secured the committee was 
convinced that devotion to the Confederacy and its leaders was 
still existent, and republican government endangered by a 
"spirit of oligarchy" based on slavery. The final opinion of 
the committee was that the States lately in rebellion had be- 
come, through war, disorganized communities; that Congress 
could not be expected to recognize as valid the election of 
representatives from these communities, nor would it be jus- 
tified in admitting the respective communities to participation 
in government "without first providing such constitutional 
or other guarantees as will tend to secure the civil rights of 


all citizens of the republic; a just apportionment of represen- 
tation; protection against claims founded in rebellion and 
crime; a temporary restoration of the right of suffrage to 
those who have not actively participated in the efforts to de- 
stroy the Union and overthrow the government, and the ex- 
clusion from positions of public trust of at least a portion of 
those whose crimes have proved them to be enemies of the 
Union and unworthy of public confidence.""^ 

The minority members of the committee presented a report 
dissenting from the conclusions drawn by the majority, and 
attacking the constitutionality of their theory and of the legis- 
lation proposed. ^ 

This legislation was embodied in a resolution which, after 
modification, became thfe Fourteenth Amendment to the Con- 
stitution of the United States f^ a bill providing that whenever 
this proposed amendment should become a part of the Con- 
stitution, and any State lately in insurrection should ratify it 
and modify its own constitution in conformity therewith, its 
Senators and Representatives might be admitted, if duly quali- 
fied, after taking the required oath; and, a bill declaring inel- 

20 Many statements of fact and inference in the majority report were 
conspicuously untrue so far as concerned North Carolina. For example, 
that "the elections which were held for State ofl&cers and members of 
Congress had resulted, almost universally, in the defeat of candidates 
who had been true to the Union, and in the election of notorious and 
unpardoned rebels, men who could not take the prescribed oath of office, 
and who made no secret of their hostility to the government and people 
of the United States." Again, "It appears quite clear that the anti- 
slavery amendments, both to the State and Federal Constitutions, were 
adopted with reluctance by the bodies which did adopt them." And 
again: "The witnesses examined as to the willingness of the people 
of the South to contribute under existing laws to the payment of 
The first part of this last extract was without doubt true, but there 
was no basis for the latter part. 

21 The chief modification was in the third section where the original 
provided that until July 4, 1870, all persons who had voluntarily ad- 
hered to the late insurrection, giving it aid and comfort, should be 
deprived of the right to vote for members of Congress and electors for 
President. I" 


igible to office under the United States all persons in the 
classes excepted by the President's amnesty proclamation of 
May 29th, 1865, except those under the thirteenth exception.^^ 
The two bills never passed. 

The fate of the Fourteenth Amendment, when submitted to 
the North Carolina legislature has been noticed.^^ It met with 
rejection in all the other Southern States except Tennessee. 
When Congress met in December, 1866, enough of the Southern 
States had rejected the amendment to show the prevailing opin- 
ion in the South, and, consequently, the question at once arose 
as to what policy should be adopted. The uncertainty in 
regard to this became less as the remaining Southern States 
in turn rejected the amendment. Consequently, in February, 
1867, it became a determined fact that the State governments, 
as organized by the President, should be superseded by others 
organized under military authority; that the political leaders 
of the Southern States should be disqualified from taking part ^ 
in the re-organization of the governments; and that the right 
of suffrage should be extended to the negro by national legis- 
lation, in utter defiance of the constitutional provision as to 
the right of the individual States in the matter. In pursuance 
of this determination the act of March 2, 1867, "to provide 
for a more efficient government of the rebel States" was passed. 
It was vetoed by the President, but was passed over the veto 
on the same day. Declaring in the preamble that no legal State 
governments or adequate protection for life or property existed 
in the ten "rebel" States, 2* the act provided that these States 
should be divided into five military districts, each under an 
officer of the army of not lower rank than brigadier-general, 
and made subject to the military authority of the United 
States. North Carolina and South Carolina formed the second 
district. The commander of each district was required to 

22 This class was composed of those who owned $20,000. 
" See pp. 167-171, preceding. 

24 Tennessee not .included in the provisions of this act, as its repre- 
sentatives had been admitted. 


protect all persons in their rights and to suppress insurrection, 
disorder and violence. In the punishment of offenders he was 
authorized to allow the civil tribunals to take jurisdiction, or 
if he deemed it necessary, to organize military commissions 
for the purpose. All interference with such tribunals by the 
State authorities was declared void and of no effect. It was 
further provided that the people of any of the said States 
should be entitled to representation whenever they should have 
framed and ratified a constitution in conformity with the 
Constitution of the United States. This constitution must 
be framed by a convention elected by the male citizens of the 
State, regardless of race, color, or previous condition, with 
the exception of those disfranchised for participation in rebel- 
lion or for felony. Those persons on whom disabilities would 
be imposed by the proposed Fourteenth Amendment were dis- 
qualified from holding a seat in the convention or from voting 
for delegates. The constitution thus framed and providing 
that all persons whom the act of Congress made electors should 
retain the electoral franchise, must then be approved by Con- 
gress. Whenever representatives should be admitted the por- 
tion of the act establishing military governments would become 
inoperative so far as concerned the State in question. Until the 
completion of this reconstruction the existing civil governments 
were declared provisional and liable at any time to modification 
or abolition.^** 

On March 23rd a supplementary act was passed. The 
original act left the whole matter of the initiation of recon- 
struction very indefinite. The supplementary act provided 
that the district commanders should cause a registration to 
be made of all male citizens who could take a required oath 
as to their qualifications as electors. The election of delegates 
to a convention should then be held by the commanders. For 
the sake of giving at least an appearance of following the will 
of the people, the act provided that the question of holding 

25 Laws, 2d Seas. 39th Cong., Chap. 153. 


a convention should be submitted to them at the same time. 
Unless a majority of the registered voters took part in the 
election and a majority in favor of holding the convention 
resulted, no convention should be held. Provision was made 
for boards of election composed only of those who could 
take the "iron-clad'' oath. Finally it was provided that a 
majority of those registered must take part, in the voting on 
the ratification of the constitution to make it valid.^* This 
act was also vetoed by President Johnson and promptly re- 
passed by the required majorities. 

In July Congress met again. In the meantime the Attorney^ 
General of the United States had sent to the President an in- 
terpretation of the act, which closely restricted the power 
of the military commanders. At once another supplementary 
act was passed, as an authoritative interpretation of the former 
acts. It gave the commanders full power to make any re- 
moyals from office that they might see fit, and authorized the 
boards of registration to go behind the oath of an applicant 
for registration whenever it seemed to them necessary. Dis- 
trict commanders, the boards of registration and all officers 
acting under either were relieved from the necessity of acting 
in accordance with the opinion of any civil officer of the 
United States. The executive and judicial officers referred to 
in the imposition of disabilities**^ were declared to include the 
holders of all civil offices created by law for the administra- 
tion of justice or for the administration of any general law 
of a State. An extension of time for registration was author- 
ized, and also a revision of the lists of registered voters before 
the election.28 This act, as was now the customar>' thing, had 
to be passed over the President's veto. 

Such was the most important legislation enacted for the 
restoration of the South. Questions of precedent and of consti- 

26 Laws, 1st Sess., 40th Cong., Chap. 6. 

27 Constitution of the United States, Amendments, Art. XIV. 

28 Laws, 2d Sess., 40th Cong., Chap. 28. 


tutional law were alike disregarded in their passage and justi- 
fication found for all. A discussion of their constitutionality, 
however, is not a part of this study. It is sufficient to say that 
the laws were effective. 

Within the State, as has been seen, the debates in Congress 
on reconstruction had caused the greatest excitement and 
anxiety. In January Governor Worth appealed to the Council 
of State for instructions as to the course he should pursue in 
the event of the passage of a reconstruction bill. He him- 
self at that time favored resistance to such an extent as would 
bring the question before the Supreme Court of the United 
States. The Council agreed with him and authorized him to 
secure the best legal talent as counsel for the State in his at- 
tempt to bring the matter before the Court.^® Acting on the 
advice of Judge Thomas Ruffin and ex-Governor Graham, 
Governor Worth consulted Hon. Benjamin R. Curtis, a former 
justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, at this 
time a practicing lawyer in Massachusetts. He agreed with 
Judge Ruffin that it would be practically impossible to get a 
test case before the Court. Judge Ruffin also advised that the 
State should not become a party to any attempt of the kind.^^ 

Accordingly in March, after the first reconstruction act had 
gone into effect, Governor Worth asked the council if he 
should take any steps in the matter. He had come to the con- 
clusion that it was useless and impossible to make any attempt 
without the authority from the General Assembly, and thought 
correctly that it would be impossible for that body to assemble. 
He advised that the people should be urged to register, and 
after sending as good men as possible to the convention to 
ratify or reject the constitution as they saw fit. The council 
agreed with this view and passed a resolution containing the 
suggestion just mentioned.^^ With the governor, and in fact 

29 Council of State Records, pp. 193-5. 

30 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. I, pp. 395-400. 

31 Council of State Records, pp. 200-04. 


with all the State, they doubted the value of any application 
to the Supreme Court, feeling that even were the case con- 
sidered and decided in favor of the State the decision would 
not be respected by Congress. Governor Worth had been in 
correspondence with several of the Southern governors, and 
now notified them that North Carolina would take no part in 
their attempt to secure justice through a judicial decision. 

2, Military Government Under General Sickles .^^ 

The first reconstruction act was declared in force in North 
Carolina by General Robinson. General Daniel E. Sickles, 
however, was assigned to the command of the second district 
with headquarters at Columbia, South Carolina ^^ He was 
not unknown in the State, for he had been in command of the 
department of which North Carolina formed a part, and had 
been rather popular than otherwise. Consequently his assign- 
ment was received with as much satisfaction as could be ex- 
pected- under the circumstances. As a matter of fact opposi- 
tion to the enforcement of the reconstruction act was apparently 
dead. It had been violent until the passage of the act, and 
then there seemed to be a general acquiescence if not agree- 
ment. But it was only resignation. No one can believe that 
anything approaching a majority of the white people of the 
State favored the destruction of the existing State govern- 
ment. But power to resist was lacking, and apathy succeeded 
protestation. The Sentinel expressed the feeling, saying, "In 
a political sense we suppose the integrity of the glorious old 
State of North Carolina has been blotted out of existence. 
* * * Well, so be it; we submit. The sword is a mighty 
convincer, and if such be its decision we accept it with all the 
logical consequences present and prospective.'' The supple- 

32 The orders and correspondence not otherwise referred to will be 
found in Sen. Ex. Docs., No. 14, "Correspondence Relative to Recon- 
struction," 1st sess., 40th Cong. 

33 This was later changed to Charleston. 


mentary act was really received with joy by the conservative 
element.^* This feeling was caused by the effect it had upon 
the plans of the radicals in the State. Immediately after the 
passage of the first reconstruction act the "loyal" members of 
the legislature which was then in session issued a call for a 
meeting of "loyal" citizens to devise a plan for calling a con- 
vention of the people. The primary meeting was held and a 
committee appointed to devise and carry out a plan for organi- 
zation. By comparison with what this meant military govern- 
ment seemed to the Conservatives far preferable. 

General Sickles soon after he took command issued an order 
declaring the civil government of the State provisional, but 
continuing it with directions that it should be obeyed. He 
requested the co-operation and assistance of all officers and 
citizens. He indicated that in general jurisdiction in criminal 
cases would be left to the civil courts. Particular cases might 
be referred by his order to military commissions.*^ His idea 
and intention were, evidently, to cause as little change in the 
State government as possible. Consequently he conferred 
frequently with Governor Worth, who had been in Washing- 
ton with him before he assumed command of the district, and 
who went to Charleston in April at General Sickles' invitation 
for a consultation with him and with Governor Orr, of South 
Carolina.®* General Sickles frequently took his advice, parti- 
cularly regarding the appointment of provisional officers. For 
convenience in the military government the State was immedi- 
ately divided into eleven military posts.*^ The post command- 
ers were instructed to supervise the action of the various civil 
officers. They were also to give notice to headquarters of 

34 The term "conservative" is used merely in contradistinction from 
the radicals. It had not yet become a party title. 

35 General Orders, No. 1. 

86 Sickles to Grant, April 18, 1867. 

87 Morganton, Salisbury, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Fayetteville, 
Groldsboro, Wilmington, Plymouth, New Bern, and Fort Macon. 


elections of any nature that were to be held within the limits 
of their posts, and if necessary suggest removals. 

In April General Sickles, in response to a demand for some- 
thing of the kind in South Carolina to stay executions for 
debt, issued his well-known "General Order, No. lo." After 
rehearsing the conditions which made action necessary it pro- 
hibited imprisonment for debt unless accompanied by fraud. 
Judgments and executions on causes of action arising after 
December 19, i860, and prior to May 15, 1865, were ordered 
not to be enforced then or thereafter. On causes arising prior 
to that time, execution was stayed for twelve months. Judg- 
ments on actions subsequent to May 15, 1865, might be en- 
forced. Proceedings for recovery of money in payment for 
the purchase of slaves were suspended. Wages for labor were 
made a lien on crops. A homestead exemption of $500 was 
provided. The requirement of bail in cases ex contractu was 
forbidden but allowed in cases ex delicto. The carrying of 
concealed weapons was forbidden, and when injury resulted 
from a concealed weapon it was to be regarded as evidence of 
an intent to commit murder. Corporal punishment for crime 
was forbidden. 

The order was issued with reference to conditions in South 
Carolina. Its injustice in several particulars as regarded 
North Carolina, is manifest. In ordering the stay of legal 
proceedings the fact that North Carolina did not secede until 
May 20, 1 86 1, instead of on December 19, i860, was entirely 
ignored. It was stated at the time, how correctly is uncertain, 
that most of the cases in which a stay was ordered in North 
Carolina had arisen in the interval named. The interference 
with the punishment of criminals worked an injustice to the 
State ; for there was no State prison and it was a heavy tax on 
the counties to keep criminals idle in jails, but as the order for- 
bidding corporal punishment was construed by the military 
authorities to forbid the use of ball and chain, convicts could 


not be worked on the roads.^® To remedy this condition of 
aflfairs Governor Worth and General Sickles later began to 
perfect a plan for the establishment of a penitentiary. Gen- 
eral Sickles designated as a committee to consider the plan, 
Governor Worth, K. P. Battle, the State Treasurer, and 
M. L. Wiggins and J. C. Harper, chairmen of the Finance 
Committees of the Senate and House of Commons.^® It was 
hoped that the legislature would be allowed to meet and com- 
plete the plan, but General Sickles forbade the session. Owing 
to the removal of General Sickles from command the matter 
was left for the attention of the new State government. 

The order for a general registration was published in May 
and provided that it should begin in the latter part of July. 
At once the work of organizing the boards of registration 
began. To the great disgust of the radicals, the Standard al- 
ready protesting against "any agency whatever by Governor 
Worth in the work of reconstruction,"*^ Governor Worth was 
consulted in the appointment of members of the boards and 
asked to recommend suitable persons from each county.*^ He 
accordingly sent recommendations for every county except 
Polk and Wilson.*^ It was necessary to find men who could 
take the oath; and as very few native whites could do so, and 
he wished to avoid the appointment of negroes, he endeavored 
to find as many former Union soldiers as possible. A few col- 
ored men were recommended by the governor, but very few ap- 
plied, and he refused to recommend any member of the Union 
League.*^ For the general board on rules and regulations one 
of his nominations was accepted. For the other place a col- 
ored minister from the North was selected by General Sickles.** 

88 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. I, p. 542. 

89 Ibid., pp. 547, 560. 

*o Standard, April 27, 1867. 

41 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. I, p. 441. 

42 Ibid., p. 421. 

43 Ibid., p. 485. 

44 H. H. Helper and G. W. Brodie were the persons in question. 


General Nelson A. Miles, who commanded the post of Ral- 
eigh and was also assistant commissioner of the Freedmen's 
Bureau, had already issued a circular to the agents of the 
Bureau instructing them to select two white and one colored 
man from each election district to be registrars and inspectors 
of elections. He decided that one of the white men must be a 
native of the State and the other an army officer or Bureau 
agent.*^ All preparations were made for beginning the en- 
rollment of the voters, but General Sickles, thinking it best to 
wait until Congress should decide who could vote, and with 
his usual regard for the welfare of the people wishing the 
"crop laid by" before the distractions incident to registration 
should begin,*® postponed indefinitely the beginning of regis- 
tration. But by August ist the order was issued with an 
elaborate set of rules and regulations. Under these post com- 
manders were given power of supervision in their districts 
and authority to preserve order, provision was made for the 
recovery of damages by persons injured while attempting to 
vote or deprived of employment on account of their registra- 
tion ; and registrars were directed, regardless of any challenge, 
to examine the right of every applicant to register. The lists 
when completed should be exposed for five days and then 
revised.*^ After the removal of General Sickles a circular of 
instructions prepared by him was also published.*^ 

General Sickles failed to exercise his power of removal to 
any great extent. When Attorney-General Stanbery gave a 
construction to the reconstruction acts which deprived district 
commanders of the right of removal. General Sickles at once 
wrote the adjutant-general that, without the power of removing 
civil officers, it was "not practicable to afford adequate security 

45 standard, May 1, 1867. 

46 Sickles to Trumbull. Quoted in Register, July 11, 1867. 

47 General Orders, No. 65, Sen. Docs., No. 341, p. 50, 2d Sess., 40th 

48 Ibid., p. 58. 


to person and property." He also said, "Without military con- 
trol I believe reconstruction would be impossible. Anarchy 
would rule — ^ruin to all interests would follow." He also in- 
formed General Grant that, up to June 17, 1867, not more than 
twelve removals had been made in the Carolinas, and that 
those were for misconduct. Very few were made by him 
later. Policemen in Wilmington in several instances were 
removed,*® and town commissioners in Wilson, Newport and 
Fayetteville. The mayor in the last-named place was also re- 
moved. Successors were appointed in these instances and 
also when the term of office of the municipal officers of New 
Bern expired, and the realm of politics was left and trustees 
appointed for the New Bern Academy, which was partially 
controlled by the town.^° A town election was suspended in 
Tarboro until the reconstruction acts could go into effect.**^ 
All appointments were in accordance with an agreement made 
with Governor Worth, at their conference in Charleston, that no 
municipal elections should be held until after the meeting of 
the convention. All officers ordinarily elected by the people 
were to be appointed by the commander, and those ordinarily 
chosen by the legislature were to be appointed by the gov- 

Throughout the administration of General Sickles there 
was a marked tendency towards an exceedingly strict super- 
vision from headquarters of the actions of civil officers. All 
officers empowered to make arrests were required to report 
to the provost marshals and to act under their orders.**^ 
Orders were constantly issued in reference to various subjects 
that had attracted General Sickles' notice. For instance in 
one order, among other things the distillation of grain was 

49 Correspondence Relative to Reconstruction, pp. 48-80. 

50 Ibid., p. 79. 

51 Ibid., p. 75. 

52 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1867, p. 692. 
58 General Orders, No. 34. 


forbidden, very properly in view of the destitution in the 
district ; license to sell liquor was confined to inns ; discrimina- 
tion in public conveyances of any kind on account of race was 
forbidden; any qualified voter under the reconstruction acts 
was declared eligible to hold office, and th^ remedy by distress 
for unpaid rent was abolished.*** 

Interference in the affairs of the courts was more general 
than before and had a greater effect in the State probably than 
the rest of the commander's official actions. The first in- 
stance of this was in the matter of juries. In May General 
Sickles declared in "General Orders, No. 32," that all citizens 
who had been assessed for taxes and had paid them were 
qualified to serve as jurors, and the proper civil officers were 
ordered to revise the jury lists in accordance with the order. 
According to his interpretation the payment of poll tax was 
sufficient qualification.**** The requisite in the State hitherto 
had been a freehold.**® When Chief Justice Chase held the 
United States Circuit Court in Raleigh in June he ordered 
that the jury lists should contain "all persons, regardless of 
race or color, otherwise qualified." This, although it admitted 
negroes, in other respects followed North Carolina law and 
precedent.**^ Governor Worth asked General Sickles to suspend 
his jury order until October, when it could be ascertained who 
had paid taxes. Accordingly the order was suspended in the 
North Carolina courts till the October terms.**® Judge Barnes 
in June adjourned Edgecombe Superior Court because negroes 
had not been summoned in accordance with General Sickles' 
>j)rder.**® A still more important judicial action was at Martin 

54 General Orders, No. 32. 

55 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. I, p. 576. 

56 Judge Fowle's decision in Martin Superior Court, Register, August 
30, 1867. 

57 Wilmington Journal, June 22, 1867. 

58 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1867, p. 548. 

59 Wilmington Journal, June 21, 1867. 


Superior Court in August, when Judge Fowle rendered a de- 
cision that colored freeholders, under the laws of North Caro- 
lina, without regard to military orders, were qualified as jurors. 
Their exclusion, prior to 1865, he held, was a natural and un- 
avoidable result of slavery, and the abolition of slavery in 1865 
made all negroes, otherwise qualified, eligible.*® 

Interference with the action of the courts was also frequent. 
In one instance the interference was at the request of the 
governor. A conviction of burglary had, in accordance with 
State law, been followed by the imposition of the death sen- 
tence. The case was one in which Governor Worth wished 
to lessen the severity of the sentence, but under the law he had 
power only to pardon. At his request General Sickles com- 
muted the sentence to ten years' imprisonment.^^ 

Probably the most remarkable case was that of Henderson 
Cooper, a freedman. He had been convicted, on proof beyond 
any shadow of doubt, of rape in March, 1865, ^^ Granville 
county, and had afterwards confessed his guilt. He was 
sentenced to be hung, but escaping to Virginia, he had gone 
to Washington, where he had been arrested and returned to 
the custody of the State in the fall of 1866. Later the sentence 
was about to be carried into eflfect by order of court when 
General Sickles, at the representation of Colonel Bomford, the 
commanding officer of the post of Raleigh, declared the sen- 
tence null and void. Colonel Bomford was ordered to investi- 
gate the charges against the prisoner, and a court of inquiry 
was accordingly instituted. Neither the victim of the assault, 
the original witnesses, nor the court officers at his trial were 
summoned. The court of inquiry reported, without presenting 
any testimony to substantiate it and contrary to fact, that the 
character of the prosecutrix was bad. It further stated that 
at the time the assault was committed "the woman's husband 
was engaged in overseeing slaves ; he was at that time, in fact, 

60 The decision is quoted in full in the Register, August 30, 1867. 

61 Correspondence Relative to Reconstruction, p. 76. 


ill the rebfel army." The conclusion of the court was that 
"a crime has been committed which, although not meriting 
so severe a penalty as that of death, should receive some pun- 
ishment'/ A military commission was then ordered. The 
State asked to have counsel present but was refused. The 
commission found the prisoner guilty and sentenced him to be 
hung. Just at this point General Canby replaced General 
Sickles and held that the action of the State court and that 
of the military commission were alike void, and directed that 
the prisoner should be remanded to the civil authorities for 
trial on a new indictment. This was virtually an order of re- 
lease, for the prisoner could have pleaded a former indictment 
and conviction and the judge would have been compelled to 
charge the jury to acquit.^^ But while the prisoner was con- 
fined in Granville jail it caught fire and he was burned to 
death. ^^ It was reported at the time that he himself set the 
building on fire in an effort to escape. But there is strong 
ground to believe that it was fired from outside with the object 
of his destruction. 

Another interesting case was in Buncombe county, where 
a freedman, after a trial which was acknowledged to be fair 
by his own counsel, was convicted of an assault. The solicitor 
was a Republican, so it could not have been political persecu- 
tion. The convict was bound out for costs, but an agent of the 
Freedmen's Bureau at once insisted upon his release, stating 
that "things were not going on right" in that part of the State 
as regarded the colored people. He was sustained by the offi- 
cer commanding the post, who released the prisoner by mili- 
tary force and made an entry on the court records forbidding 
further proceedings in the case.®* 

Provost courts were established at various points to have 
jurisdiction in small cases. The members of these courts were 
not always chosen with the care which their importance de- 

62 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. II, pp. 5-15. 

63 Ibid., pp. 111-116. 

64 Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 554-7. 



manded.®^ These, also, in several instances claimed jurisdic- 
tion in matters that were before the State courts. 

These are examples of numerous similar cases. As inter- 
ference became more frequent, the position of the State judges 
became increasingly difficult. They were sworn to execute the 
laws of the State and the military orders often conflicted with 
the law. Judge Merrimon, unwilling to hold the office under 
the existing conditions, resigned in July.^® After some delay 
his resignation was accepted by the governor and a successor 
who could take the required oath was nominated. General 
Sickles then accepted the resignation and appointed the gov- 
ernor's nominee.®^ 

But it was not only the State courts that were liable to mili- 
tary interference, though they alone were powerless to resist it. 
In June, 1867, the first Circuit Court of the -United States held 
in the South since the commencement of the war was opened in 
Raleigh with Chief Justice Chase presiding. Since the close 
of the war the justices had declined to hold court in the South 
on account of military occupation with its attendant cessation 
of civil authority. Chief Justice Chase in opening the court 
said that military authority was still exercised, but that it 
was not in its power as formerly to control judicial process 
State or national, but it could "only prevent illegal violence 
to person and property and facilitate the restoration of every 
State to equal rights in the Union. This military authority 
does not extend in any respect to the courts of the United 
States.'' ^^ A different view from this was held by the military 
commander. Under an execution issued by order of the court 
the marshal attempted to sell property in Wilmington to satisfy 
a debt owed to a creditor outside the State. The post com- 
es For instance, the provost court at Fayetteville was composed of 
comparatively uneducated laborers. 

66 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. I, p. 524. 

67 Alexander Little. 

68 Annual Cyclopfledia, 1867, p. 547. 


mander, Colonel Frank, stopped the execution, and his action 
was sustained by General Sickles. The matter was then, 
through the attorney-general, referred to the President, who 
sustained the marshal and consequently the court. General 
Sickles' order was suspended, so far as it applied to the pro- 
ceedings of the Federal courts, and this left the unusual con- 
dition of affairs that, while a debtor was protected from credi- 
tors within his own State, foreign creditors could obtain 
relief. General Sickles asked for time to explain his position 
and action, but in the meantime steps were taken by the De- 
partment of Justice to obtain an indictment against him for 
violation of the criminal laws in obstructing the process of a 
United States court. The President closed the matter by act- 
ing on the advice which the attorney-general had given him 
more than two months before, and removing General Sickles 
from command of the Second District on August 26th, and 
assigning General E. R. S. Canby to succeed him. General 
Sickles defended his conduct to General Grant and closed his 
letter with an expression of what seems to have been the opin- 
ion held generally by the military officers. He said: "I do 
firmly believe that Congress, intending to secure the restora- 
tion of these States to the Union, made all other considerations 
subsidiary to the accomplishment of this end. I do not be- 
lieve that processes of the courts of the United States should 
override the orders Congress has empowered me to make for 
the execution of its measures."®® 

On the whole the administration of General Sickles may 
be said to have been popular in the State so far as any military 
administration could have been so. It certainly was so with 
the conservative element. They opposed many of his acts as 
unconstitutional, but his evident desire for the betterment of 
economic conditions made many friends for him. His con- 
stant appeal to the State officers for advice was also liked by 
the people, and they appreciated his testimony in the State's 

60 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1867, p. 548. 


favor, given on several occasions in public and private.''® He 
believed in general amnesty, regarding it as necessary to suc- 
cessful reconstruction, and favored the removal of all disabili- 
ties, as he thought that very few who were fit to hold office 
were enfranchised.^^ These same things made him unpopular 
with the radical leaders.''^ He ignored them utterly in carrying 
on the process of reconstruction, and they consequently looked 
upon him with distrust. 

J. Military Government Under General Canhy.'^^ 

The assumption of command by General Canby brought no 
marked change from the policy of his predecessor. All orders 
of the latter were declared in force soon after General Canby 
reached South Carolina.'^* In time, however, certain modifi- 
cations were made. 

The first new order issued from the military headquarters 
was one giving notice to all persons who, through absence 
from the State or other cause, had failed to give their parole, 
to do so within thirty days.'^^ The jury order of General 
Sickles was then modified by making the right to vote the 
only qualification.''® In other internal affairs there was the 

70 When President Johnson visited Raleigh in the summer of 1867, 
General Sickles, in his speech, said: "Confident that it is gratifying to 
the Chief Magistrate and the Cabinet ministers present, to witness the 
admirable bearing of the people of this capital, it is my duty to testify 
to the President that what he has seen to-day in the capital, prevails 
everywhere over the broad surface of your noble State." — ^Wilmington 
Journal, June 7, 1867. 

71 Letter to Senator Trumbull, July, 1867. 

72 The radical convention, which met in Raleigh in September, 1867, 
passed resolutions of respect for General Sheridan, who had lately been 
removed from command of a district, but made no mention of General 

73 The orders issued during Gen. Canby's administration are to be 
found in Sen. Ex. Docs., No. 341, 2d Sess., 40th Cong. Reference will 
only be made to the number of the order and the page. 

74 General Orders, No. 85, p. 60. 75 ibid.. No. 86, p. 60. 
76 Ibid., No. 89, p. 61. 


same interference. Authority was given for the suspension 
of the payment of taxes under certain conditions; provision 
was made for compelling citizens by military authority to 
work the roads and build bridges ;'''' and, by proclamation, an 
official interpretation was given to certain laws of the State.''® 
The refusal of clerks to issue marriage licenses, in cases where 
the parties were of different races, was declared a violation of 
United States law, which furnished ample remedy and redress 
to the injured parties.''® "General Order No. lo" was modi- 
fied and a change made in the date to correspond with the 
secession of North Carolina, May 20, 1861, being substituted 
for December 19, 1860.®^ 

The important work of registration was carried on under 
General Canby. Finally on October 18th he declared registra- 
tion completed, and issued the order for an election to be held 
November 19th and 20th. The usual regulations for the con-* 
duct of an election were made. Sheriffs and other peace offi- 
cers were ordered to be in attendance ; soldiers were forbidden 
to approach the polls except as qualified voters; all saloons 
were ordered to be closed, and members of the boards of regis- 
tration, who were also candidates for the convention, were for- 
bidden to serve as judges of election in their respective coun- 
ties. The "iron-clad" oath was required, which excluded most 
native whites from service as election officials.®^ 

In the latter part of October the decisions of the general 
board of rules and regulations in regard to grounds of chal- 
lenge were revised.®^ The circular shows the interpretation 
of General Canby as to disqualification for registration. The 

77 General Orders, No. 95, p. 62. 

78 Ibid., No. 134, p. 75. 

7» Sentinel, April 11, 1868. A letter of General Miles, dated Novem- 
ber 10, 1867, was quoted in full. 

80 General Orders, No. 164. 

81 It is impossible to discover how far this rule was carried out. Accu* 
sations were made that it was disregarded. 

82 Circular, p. 69. 


decision of General Sickles that in case entering the service of 
the Confederacy or giving aid and comfort to its adherents 
had been involuntary, no disqualification existed, had already 
been published. Under the interpretation of General Canby 
the holding of only certain specified offices prior to the war 
constituted a disqualification. Among them were the follow- 
ing: sheriff, county clerk, member of the legislature, justice of 
the peace, school commissioner, tax collector, constable, post- 
master and marshal. But no disqualification was caused by 
having held any of the following positions: deputy sheriff, 
deputy marshal, assistant postmaster, clerk of the State Sen- 
ate, keeper of a light-house and notary public.'* 

As to the question of what constituted aid to the Confeder- 
acy it was held, among other things, that investment in Con- 
federate bonds, collecting supplies for the Confederacy, mak- 
ing speeches in support of the war and holding a mail con- 
tract or any civil and military office were acts that carried 
disqualification. But making charitable contributions or being 
a candidate for office did not constitute aid and comfort in the 
disqualifying sense. Hiring out horses to the Confederacy 
was disloyalty; to Confederate soldiers was not. 

The result of the registration was as follows :®* 

Whites 106,721 

Blacks 72,932 

Total, : i79»6S3 

Nineteen counties had negro majorities and m several others 
the white majority was less than a hundred.®*^ No definite idea 

83 These are only a few of the cases cited. 

84 This is the revised total. The first result was, whites, 106,060; 
blacks, 71,657. 

85 Bertie, Caswell, Chowan, Craven, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, 
Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Northampton, 
Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Richmond, and Warren had negro majori- 


can be formed of the number disqualified on account of dis- 
abilities imposed by the reconstruction acts. The registration 
of 1868, when the disabilities did not have the effect of dis- 
franchisement, showed a gain of 17,220. But many who were 
qualified did not register in 1867 and did so in 1868.®^ 

Many accusations of fraud -in the registration were made, 
but there was no disturbance of any kind during the whole 
period. It is undoubtedly true that many negroes not of age 
were registered. But the difficulty of determining their age 
could not, be overcome even had it been desired, for in most 
instances they themselves were as ignorant of the truth as 
the registrars. As a general thing a negro could register upon 
application, even if previously convicted of felony. There 
was also a tendency on the part of the registrars in many 
places to deny registration to those who they knew were op- 
posed to reconstruction. But it is probable, speaking gener- 
ally, that the registration was as fair as could be expected 
under the system employed.^'' 

As regards the qualification of the new electorate for the 
exercise of the franchise, the primary fact naturally was the 
dense ignorance among the negroes. Mony of them, more- 
over, were vicious and idle, but probably not in so great a pro- 
portion as during the years immediately following. Certainly 
they were not so vicious. From the nature of things also they 
were able to bear a very small part of the burdens of citizen- 
ship and paid a very small part of the taxes.^® 

86 Gen. Canby, in 1867, estimated that 11,686 whites and 493 blacks 
were disfranchised by the act of Congress. Also that in 1867 there were 
7,791 whites and 2,796 blacks qualified who did not apply for registra- 
tion. The estimate was made without any evidence to support it and 
is utterly valueless. 

87 The above was written after discussion of the matter with partici- 
pants in the election from different parts of the State, of different politi- 
cal belief, and white and black. 

88 The Wilmington Journal of November 17, 1867, had an interesting 
comparison of the number of negroes registered with those listed for poll 


Only a small number of removals from office were made 
by General Canby. But his appointments in some instances 
were criticized, and justly. For example, in Jones county the 
sheriff was removed and a Northern man appointed, who had 
lately become a resident. No official bond was required.®* 
The same thing was done in Craven.®® 

The civil courts had only a nominal authority, their action 
being subject to revision by the military authorities. In con- 
sequence Judge Fowle resigned, being unwilling to enforce 
military orders that were contrary to State law. A. W. 
Tourgee was mentioned as his successor, and notwithstanding 
the fact that he had never been licensed to practice law in 
North Carolina, would have been appointed but for the oppo- 
sition of Governor Worth. The governor recommended and 
secured the appointment of Colonel Clinton A. Cilley, who had 
formerly been in command at Salisbury, had also been agent 
of the Freedmen's Bureau there, had won great popularity, 
and after leaving the army had settled there and commenced 
the practice of law.®* 

A direct consequence probably, of the practical overthrow of 
the civil courts, was an increase in crime of every sort. The 
latter part of 1867 showed the beginning of the lawlessness 
which was to culminate a few years later. The sudden eleva- 
tion of the negroes to the position of voters did not have a 

tax. Only 33,000 were listed as compared with 72,932 registered. Prob- 
ably one-third of those registered were over forty-five years of age and, 
consequently, exempt from the payment of poll tax. This left 14,771 
who bore no part of the expenses of government. In Cherokee and Edge- 
combe counties, employers listed the negroes, with the result that Che»o- 
kee showed more listed than registered, and Edgecombe, after deduction 
of the estimated one-third exempt from the listed, showed the two 
classes equal. 

80 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. II, p. 107. 

00 Ibid., p. 507. 

01 Ibid., pp. 55, 70. 


peaceful effect on either race, and violence on the part of one 
was met with violence by the other.®^ The most common 
offence was, naturally, larceny. The military tribunals in- 
flicted punishment in a few instances, but the State was full 
of wandering negroes who could not be identified readily. 
In Orange county nine burglaries were committed within 
two weeks.®^ Conditions became so bad in some sections that 
General Canby authorized the formation of a police force com- 
posed of loyal whites and blacks in the ratio of registration. 
The mingling of the races was not popular, and few counties 
availed themselves of the opportunity.®* 

The military force in the State was very small during the 
whole of 1867. I^ t^^ autumn the posts were consolidated 
into four, with headquarters at Wilmington, Raleigh, Golds- 
boro and Wilmington.®^ 

92 The reports of crime were published in the Report of the Secre- 
tary of War for 1867, Ex. Docs., No. 1, p. 350, Sd Sess., 40th Cong. 
They show an appalling condition of affairs, but as North Carolina 
and South Carolina were grouped, no separate figures for the former 
can be given. 

93Hillsboro Recorder, March 27, 1868. 

04 SentinieiL January 27, 1868. Jones, Craven, Lenoir, and Pitt 
counties had such organizations. 

»5 The following table shows the number of troops and where they 
were stationed for piost of the time: 

Place. Compames. Officers. Men. 

Raleigh 1 7 

Fayetteville . , , 1 8 80 

Salisbury 1 4 77 

Wilmington , 2 4 53 

New Bern 1 5 140 

Charlotte 1 3 74 

Morganton 2 7 188 

Fort Macon 1 3 99 

Goldsboro 3 9 229 

Plymouth , 1 3 85 

Total 14 53 925 


In general conditions were worse in the State than during 
the administration of General Sickles. More dissatisfaction 
was expressed with the military government and more was 
felt. The workings of the reconstruction acts became increas- 
ingly unpopular with a majority of the white people. Bit- 
terness too increased, particularly after the opening of the 
campaign for the convention. 

General Canby's name became associated m the minds of 
many with the conditions which prevailed during the period 
in which he was in command, and he was personally not so 
well liked as General Sickles had been. In part this may 
have been due to the fact that he was of Southern birth. An- 
other cause was the fact that he generally ignored the State 
administration, and also that he never came into the State 
from the time he assumed command until Januar}'^, 1868.®® 

4, State Politics and the Election of 1867. 

As has been noted previously,®^* a plan originated with the 
minority members of the legislature for calling a convention 
of the people. This was rendered unnecessary by the passage 
by Congress of the supplementary reconstruction act. But 
the committee chosen to manage affairs had already called a 
meeting in Raleigh and published a list of persons they wished 
to attend. These were one hundred and forty in number and 
included the leaders of the opposition to Governor Worth in 
1866. There were also a number of Northern radicals who 
had settled in the State and had shown a disposition to take 
an active part in politics. The primary meeting which issued 
the call was presided over by C. L. Harris. Its germ may be 
found in the meeting of the previous September when Alfred 
Dockery was nominated for governor. The meeting instructed 
Mr. Harris, "in the interests of harmony," to see the negroes 

»6 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. II, p. 63. 
»6a See p. 202, preceding. 


and ascertain their wishes.®^ The determination which had 
now been reached by the extreme radicals was expressed by 
Mr. Holden in a characteristic editorial. He said on March 
13th, "The people of this State have at length reached a point 
when they must act and restore the State to the Union, or incur 
the hazards of anarchy and civil war. The Union people of 
this State especially have borne as much and as long as they 
intend to bear. All honest, thoughtful, decent citizens will 
either unite with them in the work of restoration or retire and 
remain quiet. Traitors must take back seats and keep silent. 
The loyal people, thanks to Congress, are now about to take 
charge of public affairs. The issue is Union or Disunion. He 
who is not for the Union deserves to have his property con- 
fiscated and to suffer death by the law." ®® A week later he 
threatened that if the "rebel" leaders took any part in recon- 
struction they would ''pull down on their own heads that final 
and irrevocable ruin which they so richly deserve. Is Governor 
Graham pardoned? Is Governor Vance pardoned? Congress 
may sweep away all pardons. There are some it will sweep 

Although the original purpose of the convention was made 
unnecessary by the act of Congress, the call was continued and 
the meeting was held on March 27th. A large number of 
delegates, white and black, were present, representing fifty-six 

When the question of organization came up R. P. Dick sug- 
gested that the meeting should proceed to the organization of 
the Republican party in North Carolina. This had been the 
well-known intention of many of the delegates, and excited 
no surprise. Daniel R. Goodloe, the only native North Caro- 
linian present who had a record clear of any adherence to the 
Confederacy or to secession, and who had been a Republican 

07 Mr. Harris had been, a short time before, probably the most deter- 
mined opponent of the admission of negro testimony. 

08 Standard, March 13, 1867. 


since the organization of the party, opposed this on the ground 
that it would prevent the co-operation of many desirable per- 
sons, if a name should be adopted which had previously been 
so odious to the Southern people generally, **and," he added, 
"to the great majority of your convention/' B. S. Hedrick 
also opposed it and suggested that "The Union Party" should 
be the name adopted. Both of these opposed any permanent 
organization at the time. But the sentiment of the convention 
was overwhelmingly in favor of identification with the Re- 
publican party, and the name was adopted. 

In a spectacular way the colored delegates were given a 
prominent place in the convention. The proceedings were 
opened with prayer by a colored minister, and upon organiza- 
tion the president was escorted to the chair by a white dele- 
gate cm one side and a colored delegate on the other. The 
negroes made a great many speeches, but took little part in the 
debates. Most of the white speakers expressed delight at the 
advancement of the negroes to the right of suffrage The New 
York Tribune said that the convention showed that the "loyal" 
white people were willing to "unite with the colored men on 
terms of absolute equality." ®^ Whether this was true or not, 
it cannot be denied that such seemed the case. 

Resolutions were adopted by the convention declaring the 
full agreement of the delegates with Republican doctrine, and 
arrangements were made for a State organization. ^°® 

As was to be expected, the convention received its full share 
of abuse. Its members were given titles that were hardly 
relished by them, such as "Holdenites" and "Holden mis- 
cegenationists." The claim of the newly organized party to 
a monopoly of loyalty seemed worse than absurd to the Con- 
servatives, and the leaders of the party were all distrusted by 
their opponents on account of their former records. Nor 
was the name of the party more popular in North Carolina 

90 Quoted in Standard, April 10, 1867. 
100 Ibid., x\pril 3, 1867. 


than in the other Southern States. In this expressed disHke 
of the Republican party the former Whigs were leaders. The 
Democrats, who had formerly been most bitterly hostile to the 
party, were not at all prominent in political affairs just now. 
As has been seen the State administration was in the hands 
of former Whigs who had opposed secession until the call for 
troops, and some like Jonathan Worth andjosiah Turner, 
until the passage of the secession ordinance. Those who had 
favored secession were in almost every instance in political 
retirement. With most of them this retirement was voluntary* 
They were fully conscious of defeat and ready to accept the 
decision and final settlement of the questions involved in the 
late struggle, and they did not care at this time to take any 
active part in politics. Most of them were convinced that 
things were in general out of joint, and their most acute sensa- 
tion was one of regret at the failure of the Confederate cause. 
To arouse them from this condition of mind a change of 
conditions was necessary. This was accomplished by the en- 
forcement of the reconstruction acts. In 1865 and later the 
Democratic party seemed dead forever in North Carolina, but 
the organization of the Republican party in the State under 
the leadership of W. W. Holden, R. P. Dick and Thomas Set- 
tle, three former Democrats, began its resuscitation. 

The first manifestations of feeling were directed against the 
men composing the Republican party. There was no organ- 
ized opposition as yet, and there was no prospect of any oppo- 
sition of importance to the reconstruction acts.^^^ Mr. Holden, 

101 The Sentinel of April 27, 1867, expressed very well the feeling 
of a great many: "Again we urge our readiness to unite our people 
upon the one simple platform of the Congress. We argue that only 
those shall vote in North Carolina whom Congress says shall vote. We 
agree that only those shall hold office whom the Congress says shall 
hold office. We agree that those disabilities shall exist as long as 
Congress says they shall, but no longer. This is the law. Is this not 
Republican? Is this not Kadical enough?" 


naturally, was the favored object of attack, particularly of the 
Sentinel. To the attacks of this paper Mr. Holden responded, 
"Every line of his (Mr. Pell's) paper containing treasonable 
sentiments is equal to an acre of land." 

The organization of the Republican party was carried on 
in every county. A feature of it was the revival of secret po- 
litical societies. The Heroes of America and the Union League 
were largely extended in membership, the latter being particu- 
larly valuable to the party in the organization of the negroes. 
It more than anything else made the efforts to divide the negro 
vote an utter failure. Such an attempt was made in Raleigh 
by the calling of a colored mass meeting, at which Governor 
Worth and several other Conservatives were asked to speak. 
But apparently it made no impression upon the negroes. As 
a matter of fact there was no general disposition evident among 
the Conservatives to form any alliance with the negroes. 

Another means employed to assist in organizing the party 
was a succession of visits to the State by leaders of the na- 
tional Republican party. Senator Wilson and Hon. W. D. 
Kelly were among those who spoke at different places in the 

The failure of General Sickles to abolish the existing State 
government was a source of constant annoyance to the radical 
leaders. Consequently, when Congress met in July, a com- 
mittee from the State was sent to Washington, headed by 
James H. Harris, who had become the political leader of the 
freedmen, to petition that the existing State administration 
might be removed, and, atso, that Mr. Holden might be re- 
lieved from his disabilities.^^^ But their efforts were unsuc- 

As the summer advanced a division in sentiment appeared 
among the Republicans. The radical element had a decided 
leaning towards confiscation, and were, in general, inclined to 

102 Philadelphia Press, July 11, 1867; Standard, July 24, 1867. 


be proscriptive. Mr. Holden favored a test oath which would 
disfranchise many of the opponents of the Republican party .^®* 
This kind of thing was persistently urged upon the colored 
people. Daniel R. Goodloe, who had begun the publication 
of a newspaper in Raleigh/®* was foremost in opposition to 
this policy. His advice was always towards moderation. He 
said, "Listen to no man who whispers the word confiscation 
in your ears or disfranchisement, or injury in any form to 
your law-abiding white neighbors." He warned them that the 
result of confiscation would be general ruin to black and white 
alike, and advised them to be suspicious of anyone leading 
them by promises of the kind. "Ask them," said he, "how 
long they have been champions of your rights. In ninety- 
nine cases out of a hundred you will find that such men would 
have sold you to the sugar and cotton planters of the far South 
at any time before you were set .free." ^^^ 

The question came up more definitely at the Republican 
State convention which was held in September in Raleigh.^®^ 
Over seventy counties were represented, the negro delegates 
predominating. In fact the convention was largely controlled 
by the negroes led by the Northern men present. This was 
shown by the debate on the election of a permanent president. 
General Abbott was nominated, and the nomination was op- 
posed by General Laflin, who stated that it was bad policy to 
put Northern men in the important positions. General Abbott's 
organization, however, was too strong for the opposition and 
he was chosen, the colored delegates deciding, after a consulta- 
tion among themselves, in his favor, and, as a peace offering 
to the native whites, electing Mr. Holden chairman of the State 

103 standard, March 20, 1867. 

104 The Union Register. 

105 Letter to Eepublican meeting, July 17, 1867. Roister, July 30, 

106 The account of the convention is gathered from the Standard, Sep- 
tember 11, 1867, and the Register, September 6 and 13, 1867. 


executive committee. Alfred Dockery had been led to believe 
that he would be chosen to preside and had come prepared, 
but to his great disgust was never mentioned during the dis- 
cussion in connection with the position. The resolutions 
passed at the March convention were chosen as a platform. 
Additional resolutions were then introduced opposing confis- 
cation and favoring unlimited suffrage and the removal of 
disabilities from all "loyal" men. The resolution regarding 
confiscation brought on a sharp debate. The majority of the 
colored men present^®'' and quite a number of the whites were 
too favorable to the idea of confiscation to go on record 
against it, and a substitute for the resolution, expressing wil- 
lingness to abide by the action of Congress in the matter, was 
adopted. The other resolutions were then tabled. There was 
evidently a strong disinclination on the part of those in control 
to advising a removal of disabilities, even of those who were 
acting with the Republican party. In fact there were a num- 
ber of the Northern men present who felt that their chances 
of political success would be greatly lessened if there should 
be any general removal of disabilities. Their political ambition 
explains the failure to pass any resolution for the relief of the 
"loyal." Hatred of political opponents caused great bitterness 
of expression. One delegate,^®^ in reply to a conciliatory speech 
made by James H. Harris, said, "They should be taught that 
treason should be made odious. Their children ought to be 
forced to say, *My father was disfranchised on the ground 
of endeavoring to destroy the best government that ever the 
sun of high Heaven looked down upon.' " The whole tone 

107 A. H. Galloway, a negro delegate from New Hanover, opposed con- 
fiscation, but desired owners of large estates taxed a dollar an acre, so 
that the land might be sold by the sheriffs and an opportunity given 
the negroes to buy land. 

108 w. F. Henderson. He was indicted a few weeks later for stealing 
a horse or mule. Mr. Goodloe, in commenting upon this, said: "A 
revolutionary period like the present is particularly favorable to that 


of the convention was proscriptive. Men like Mr. Goodloe, 
who desired harmony in the State, dissented very vigorously 
from the sentiments expressed, and pointed out that little sym- 
pathy could be expected from those who had not yet joined the 
party. As a matter of fact the leaders of the party did not 
desire the former political leaders of the State to join the 
party, knowing that it would interfere with their own plans. 
Mr. Goodloe declared that the action of the convention would 
utterly alienate the races from each other, and indicated the 
sentiment of the convention and its supporters to be "that 
white men had no rights which black men are bound to re- 
spect." ^^^ The ratification meetings, which followed all over 
, the State, emphatically opposed this tendency of the conven- 
tion, and Mr. Holden saw that he and his followers had been 
too hasty and employed a good deal of space in several issues 
of his paper in attempting to prove that there was no desire 
on his part for confiscation.^^® But he soon returned to his 
threatening attitude, and in speaking of the possibility of a con- 
servative majority in the convention, he said that dire penalties 
would result from it, and closed with the following statement : 
"The man who gets in the way in this crisis of restoring the 
Union according to the will of the nation should not only lose 
the last acre of land he has, but he deserves death by the 
halter.'' ^^ 

A plan of centralized organization was adopted by the con- 
vention. Mr. Goodloe declared that this was intended to con- 
trol the vote of the negroes in the interest of scheming whites — 
"to parcel out the offices among the Ring men" — and refused 
to acknowledge it as binding.^^^ He then called for a new 

sort of patriotism which Dr. Johnson declared to be the resort of a 
scoundrel." — Register, October 11, 1867. The indictment failed, but 
was destined to serve a purpose for his opponents later. 

109 Register, October 18, 1867. 

110 Standard, September 19, et seq. 

111 Ibid., September 21, 1867. 

112 Register, September 13, 1867. 



organization of the party, declaring the other "a preposterous 
abortion." ^^^ Mr. Holden immediately "read him out" of the 
party^ Mr. Goodloe retorted with considerable force, express- 
ing a doubt as to the power of Mr. Holden in the matter.^^* 
Finally the executive committee met and passed a set of reso- 
lutions denying any desire for confiscation. In the meantime 
an address to the people was prepared by John Pool, setting 
forth the conservative Republican doctrine. With this view 
men of the type of R. P. Dick and Charles R. Thomas 

As may be supposed, these disagreements in the new party 
were watched with delight by its opponents. As has been 
seen a feeble, half-hearted attempt was made by some of them 
to divide the negro vote. This was largely the work of the 
Sentinel, which was still in favor of voting for a convention. 
But this action was unpopular and the position of the conserva- 
tives was finally taken — to make the fight on the question of 
negro suffrage, declaring their unqualified opposition to it and 
denying the constitutionality of the whole reconstruction policy 
of Congress. This decision was largely due to the advice of 
William A. Graham. 

A call for a State Conservative convention was issued by the 
Sentinel and later by over one hundred citizens of Wake 
County, ^nd in the latter part of September it met in Raleigh. 
The meeting did nothing beyond passing resolutions denounc- 
ing the action and proscriptive tendency of the Republican 

113 Roister, September 24, 1867. 

114 Mr. Goodloe said : "Seriously we would respectfully suggest to 
Mr. Holden the propriety of his getting inside the Republican party, 
before he attempts to read out of it men who were of it and with it 
when it was founded. If he were not a disfranchised rebel, he would 
be but a probationer of less than six months standing; and his efforts 
to put us out, who, in our humble way, assisted in organizing one of 
the first Republican organizations in the United States, may seem to 
some people immodest, not to say impudent." — ^Register, September 20, 
1867. 115 Roister, October 1 and 22, 1867. 


convention. Many of the Conservatives, including Governor 
Worth, were opposed to any organization. The fact is, they 
were so utterly discouraged and disorganized that it seemed 
impossible to reach any settled policy. Governor Worth had 
issued an address to the people urging them to register and 
vote, but no advice had been given as to how they should 
vote. Another Conservative meeting was called, and several 
prominent men were invited to attend and speak. William A. 
Graham wrote a letter to this meeting, in which, after express- 
ing his unqualified opposition to any recognition of the right 
of the negroes to vote, he advised the Conservatives to vote 
against a convention.^^® B. F. Moore, although denying the 
constitutionality of the reconstruction acts, wrote the meeting 
that he would take no part in it as he favored a convention. 
No definite action was taken by the meeting on the question 
of negro suffrage, but the position of the Conservatives was 
settled from this time on. The Sentinel still persisted that it 
did not favor a white man's party, but in this respect its influ- 
ence was gone. 

As will be remembered, the supplementary reconstruction act 
required that a majority of those registered had to take part 
in the election to make it valid. Despairing of a majority of 
the vote cast, a plan was now devised by the Conservatives in 
several of the Southern States for accomplishing the defeat of 
the convention. All Conservatives were urged to register and 
vote for delegates for a convention, but to cast no vote on the 
queston of holding a convention. But General Canby defeated 
this project by an order to the effect that no votes for delegates 
should be counted unless accompanied by a vote on the conven- 
tion question.^^*^ Conservative candidates were nominated in 
almost every county, but their canvass was listless. 

The election was held November 19th and 20th. The result 
was as follows: 

lie Sentinel, October 16, 1867. 

117 Wilmington Journal, November 15, 1867. 


Registered voters 179*653 

Votes cast , . . 125,967 

For convention 93,oo6 

Against convention 32,961 

Not voting 53,686 

" Only two counties. Orange and Currituck, had a majority 
opposed to a convention. The vote for a convention was not 
only a majority of the votes cast, but also a majority of the 
registered voters. Those who failed to vote were for the most 
part white, very few of the negroes failing to exercise the 

By the failure of the Conservative voters to exercise their 
right the Republicans obtained an enormous majorty in the 
convention. No explanation can be given of this failure to 
vote beyond the widespread feeling that it was useless to 
resist Congress and that, consequently, it would be without 
profit to gain a majority in the convention. 

Numerous accusations of fraud were made by the Conserva- 
tives, but, as there was no hope of redress, were not pressed. 
That fraud existed is known, but to what extent is impossible 
to ascertain.^^® In one instance at least and probably in more 
a candidate for the convention was also an election official.^^^ 

The day of the election the Sentinel took the position that a 
white man's party was necessary, and with this declaration as 
a platform the Conservatives rallied for the remainder of the 
period of reconstruction. 

118 General Canby, by means of an estimate, proved to his own satis- 
faction that 11,210 registered n^roes failed to vote. Apart from any 
question of the accuracy, in general, of estimates made by proportion, 
it is a known fact that the figures could not be correct. 

119 The writer has been informed by a Republican, prominent at the 
time, that fraud was practiced generally. In Eockingham County the 
polling places were changed on the Saturday night preceding the elec- 
tion and no public notice was given. In this way many white voters 
were prevented from voting. — Sentinel, November 23, 1867. 

120 Gen. Byron Laflin in Pitt County. 




J. The Convention of 1868. 

At the call of General Canby the convention met in Raleigh 
on January 14, 1868. The Republicans had a majority of 
ninety-four, the Conservatives having elected only thirteen 
delegates. Of the one hundred and seven Republicans sixteen 
were "carpetbaggers" and thirteen were negroes. Many of 
the "carpetbaggers," or "squatters," as they were called in 
North Carolina, had formerly been officers in the Union army. 
The more prominent of them were General Joseph C. Abbott, 
a native of Ne^y Hampshire and formerly an editor and law- 
yer ; Lieutenant Albion W. Tourgee, a native of Ohio, a gradu- 
ate of Rochester University and a former officer v^f the 105th 
Ohio volunteers ; General Byron Laflin, a native of Massachu- 
setts, formerly colonel of the 34th New York Infantry, and 
Major H. L. Grant, of the 6th Connecticut volunteers^ and a 
native of Rhode Island. Of the other "carpetbaggers" David 
Heaton had been a special agent of the Treasury Department 
and had settled in New Bern ; G. W. Welker was a native of 
Pennsylvania who had come to Guilford county before the war 
as a minister ; S. S. Ashley was a native of Massachusetts and 
a minister, little else being known of his antecedents ;2 John 
R. French was a native of New Hampshire who had been a 
newspaper editor and twice a member of the Ohio House of 

1 He was a paymaster in the volunteer army in the late war with 

2 The Sentinel constantly asserted that Ashley was of negro blood, 
and quoted as proof an account in the New York Observer of the pro- 
ceedings of the American Missionary Association, which so classed him. 
Sentinel, May 28, 1868. 


Representatives. He had come to North Carolina as a direct 
tax commissioner.' 

Of the white native North Carolinians in the convention none 
had been previously of any prominence in the State, few being 
known at all outside their own counties. W. B. Rodman had 
been known as an able lawyer and as an earnest advocate of 
secession. He, with Calvin J. Cowles and J. M. Turner, was 
disfranchised under the reconstruction acts, but the fact that 
they were Radicals prevented any action being taken to unseat 

Several of the colored delegates were, comparatively speak- 
ing, men of considerable ability. James H. Harris was an 
orator of great power and had a fair education. With J. W. 
Hood and A. H. Galloway he shared the leadership of the 
colored members.* 

None of the Conservatives were men of political promi- 
nence. The two who at once took the most prominent part 
in the debates of the convention were Captain Plato Durham 
and Major John W. Graham, both ex-Confederate soldiers and 
men of education.*^ 

Temporary organization was effected the first day. The 
next day permanent organization was completed by the election 
of officers. Calvin J. Cowles was chosen president. The fact 
of his disabilities was ignored at the time, but later in the ses- 
sion a committee was appointed to examine and make a report 
in regard to the validity of his signature, as he was not a regis- 
tered voter. The committee presented an elaborate report, 
which declared that the general commanding was the judge 
of the qualifications and election of members.® The conven- 

3 The other "squatters" were Edwin Legg, W. A. Mann, D. J. Rich, 
A. W. Fisher, W. H. S. Sweet, F. F. French, J. H. Renfrew, and D. D. 
Colgrove. The four first mentioned had been Union soldiers. 

4 The other colored members were Wilson Carey, John Hyman, J. H. 
Williamson, Henry Eppes, J. J. Hays, H. C. Cherry, P. D. Robbins, 
Bryant Lee, C. D. Pierson, and Cuflfee Mayo. 

5 The latter, who was a son of William A. Graham, had been, before 
the war, an instructor in the University of North Carolina. 

6 Journal, p. 400. 


tion had already decided that Cowles should occupy the chair 
for the rest of the session, regardless of the finding of the 
committee^ The convention was thus inconsistent, for it sum- 
marily declared unseated two Conservative members whom 
General Canby had declared elected, and neither of them was 
summoned before the committee before the resolution declar- 
ing their seats vacant was introduced.® The election of Mr. 
Cowles caused general surprise in the State, as it was supposed 
that General Abbott and Mr. Heaton desired the position and 
that one of them would be elected. Each was ambitious, but 
probably each concluded that more reputation and influence 
could be gained on the floor of the convention than as its 
presiding officer. Mr .Cowles was a man of mediocre ability 
and attainments and was thoroughly under the control of the 
"carpetbaggers." Their support, combined with the fact that 
he was a close connection by marriage of Mr. Holden, procured 
his election. 

An effort was made immediately after organization to secure 
the passage of a resolution declaring that the convention would 
fiot consider any legislative proposition until a constitution had 
been adopted. This met with little approval and was referred 
to a committee and there suppressed. 

On the third day action was taken in regard to criticism of 
the convention by the newspapers and their derisive comments 
upon it. The day the convention met the Sentinel had voiced 
the sentiment of the majority of the white people of the State, 
saying, in part : 


"The pillars of the Capitol should be hung in mourning to- 
day for the murdered sovereignty of North Carolina. In the 
hall where have been collected, in days gone by, the wisdom, 

7 Journal, p. 372. 

8 These were Messrs. Williams of Sampson and Marler. — Journal, p. 


the patriotism, the virtue of the State, there assembles this 
morning a body convened by an order of Congress, in violation 
of the Constitution of the United States, and in utter disregard 
of the constitution of North Carolina, a body which, in no 
sense as a whole, represents the true people of the State, which 
has not been elected according to our laws nor chosen by those 
to whom those laws have committed the right of suffrage. In 
the seats which have been filled by some of the best and truest 
sons of North Carolina will be found a number of negroes, a 
still larger number of men who have no interests or sentiments 
in common with our people but who were left in our midst by 
the receding tide of war, and yet others who have proven false 
to their mother and leagued with her enemies." 

The other Conservative papers at once took up the nick- 
name "So Called" and it was used during the whole session 
whenever the convention was mentioned. In addition the 
Sentinel, in reporting the proceedings of the body, designated 
the colored members by placing "negro" after their names. 
This caused much indignation in the convention,® and Mr. 
Abbott offered a resolution excluding from the hall of the 
convention the reporters of papers which treated the conven- 
tion or its members with disrespect. After a heated debate the 
resolution was passed, several of the moderate Republicans 
present voting with the Conservatives against it. The Con- 
servative delegates then entered a formal protest. This was 
objected to and consequently was not received at the time. 
Later, however, the President decided to allow it to be entered 
upon the journal. By the resolution it was left to the president 
to decide what reporters should be excluded. For some time 
no one was refused admittance, but finally the reporter of the 
North Carolinian was expelled from the hall for the language 

9 J. W. Hood, a negro del^ate, in protesting against the language of 
the Sentinel, said that there was not a n^ro in the convention. 


of his report of the proceedings, which, he avowed, was in- 
tended to be insulting, if it were possible.^® 

The Conservatives realized fully their utter helplessness, and 
decided to act in such a way as to make the policy of the radi- 
cals stand out clearly. Throughout the entire session, led by 
Durham, Graham and Hodnett,^^ they were a constant source 
of annoyance and trouble to the Republicans. 

The convention, according to precedent, had very few offices 
within its gift, and strange to say created comparatively few.^^ 
The most useless, probably, was that of sergeant-at-arms. 
This was created to satisfy the claim of Colonel I. A. Peck, a 
former Union soldier, who had been very active in the organi- 
zation of the Republican party in the State. A reporter was 
also elected to make a place for another faithful party- worker.^* 
The idea of official reports of the debates also appealed to some 
of the delegates.^* 

10 Journal, p. 97. The language was as follows: "The performance 
began at the usual time." The word "negro" was, also, prefixed to the 
names of the colored delegates. 

11 Mr. Hodnett was elected as an independent candidate and was 
supposed to be a moderate Republican. But he soon became disgusted 
with the radicals and acted throughout with the Conservatives. 

12 So far as can be ascertained by the writer, the following is the 
list of the employees of the convention: 1 reporter at $8 per day; 1 
secretary at $8; 1 assistant secretary at $4; 1 engrossing clerk at $6; 
5 clerks at $4 each ; 2 doorkeepers at $2 each ; 1 sergeant-at-arms at $8 ; 
and 3 servants at $2 each. Mr. Ashley, early in the session, introduced 
a resolution providing that the term "servitors" should be substituted 
for employees as more respectful. This was evidently designed to win 
favor with the n^roes. 

13 Joseph W. Holden, the junior editor of the Standard and the son 
of W. W. Holden, was chosen. He was already the reporter of the 
debates for the Standard. The reports were never published in book 

14 Wilson Carey, a colored delegate, said he favored the publication 
of the debates, as he intended to "expatiate" to the convention and 
wanted his words recorded in the "archives of gravity." 


The convention by comparison with all previous public as- 
semblies in North Carolina was exceedingly expensive and ex- 
travagant. The per diem of members was set at $8, with 
twenty cents mileage each way. This was a compromise be- 
tween the views of General Abbott, who wished it to be $io, 
and quite a number of others who, considering the condition 
of the State finances, wished something very low. Attempts 
were made by several members at different times to have a 
limit set to the number of days for which remuneration should 
be received. Mr. Tourgee wished the per diem reduced to $4 
after thirty days. A resolution providing that after March 
1 2th no member should receive any pay was characterized as 
discourteous.^^ Every proposition of the kind was voted 
down, almost without debate. The compensation of the presi- 
dent was fixed at $12 per day, with the same mileage as the 
other members. At the close of the session he was directed 
to remain in Raleigh and sign warrants, receiving for his 
services $6 per day while so employed. Absence on the part 
of the delegates was frequent, and a resolution providing that 
no member should receive pay for the days he was absent met 
with prompt rejection. Many members left before the end 
of the session, and with the consent of the convention drew 
their pay to the time of adjournment.^® 

Fraud too was evident in the mileage accounts. For in- 
stance the member from Harnett county, who could not have 
lived at the fnost more than fifty miles from Raleigh,* and who 
actually lived only about thirty miles away, charged mileage 
for 262 miles each way.^*^ There were numerous cases of this 
kind, but the majority seemingly had no conscience in the mat- 
ter, and although a resolution was passed directing the sheriffs 

15 standard, March 3, 1868. 

16 Journal, p. 451. 

17 Auditor's Keport, 1868, p. 62. The Sentinel said that he had prob- 
atly gone to the Cape Fear boat, which was further away than Raleigh, 
and then had come by way of Wilmington. 


of all the counties to publish .the names, residences and correct 
mileage of all the members, it was never enforced. Fraud 
was common in the purchase of supplies also. Prices far above 
those of the market were charged and paid, particularly for 
wood and stationery.^® 

Little regard was had for the necessity of completing their 
work. For a considerable time only one session was held each 
day. Later two were usually held. When the Republican 
State Convention met in Raleigh the convention only met each 
day for roll call, that pay might be drawn, and then adjourned 
that the members might take part in the proceedings of the 
Republican meeting. 

The question of the payment of the members and officers 
of the convention came up soon after the convention met. At 
once a loan of $10,000 was authorized, in order that mileage 
might be paid.^* An ordinance was then passed directing the 
State treasurer to pay the per diem of the members from the 
funds in his possession. But Mr. Battle refused to recognize 
the convention and declined to pay the members, claiming that 
he was under bond to use the funds in his hands for the pur- 
poses for which they had been collected, and that the convention 
would have no legal status until its work was accomplished 
and a new State government was established. As additional 
ground for his refusal he quoted the act of Congress of March 
23, 1867, which directed the convention to provide for its ex- 
penses by levying a tax.^^ The matter was referred to General 

18 Col. J. T. Deweese, a register in bankruptcy, furnished wood at $6 
per cord, when the market price was $4.75. The Conservatives made 
such an outcry at this that $1 per cord was deducted from his next 
account. Journal, p. 425. 

19 Journal, p. 83. The Conservative press said that when it was an- 
nounced that the mileage would be paid at one of the banks in the 
city, there was such a rush for it that- it was impossible to keep a 
quorum present in the convention. Sentinel, February 6, 1868. 

20 Journal, p. 80. 


Canby who replied that the treasurer was correct in his de- 
cision, but informed the convention that as soon as they 
should have levied a tax for the purpose, he would order the 
treasurer to pay the members from the funds on hand.^^ A 
tax was accordingly levied, and the treasurer, thus protected, 
cashed the warrants of the convention. The tax was 1-20 of i 
per cent on all real and personal property, and consequently 
bore not at all upon the leaders of the majority, and in fact 
very little, comparatively, upon the majority of the Republican 
party. In the meantime various other plans had been suggested 
for raising money. One of the "carpetbaggers" introduced 
an ordinance providing for the negotiation of a loan of $500 
for contingent expenses.^^ This was adopted.^^ A negro 
delegate introduced a resolution asking Congress for a loan 
of $3,000,000.^* Resolutions of this kind were frequent during 
the whole session. 

The expenses of the convention for per diem and mileage 
amounted to $86,356.89. Printing and stationery increased 
this by about $5,000. In the matter of expense. North Caro- 
lina, compared with most of the other Southern States, 
escaped very easily. But the expenses far exceeded those of 
any other convention in North Carolina.^*^ 

Comparatively little opportunity for corruption existed, but 
charges were introduced that bribery had been used to obtain 

21 Journal, p. 125. 23 ibid., p. 143. 

22 Ibid., p. 132. 24 Ibid., p. 142. 

25 The expenses of the State conventions of North Carolina, begin- 
ning with that of 1835, and exclusive of printing, which was of little 
cost in the case of all of them, were as follows: 
Date. No. Sessions. Days. Cost. Per Diem. 

1835 1 38 $8,330.00 $1.50 5 cts. 

1861 4 108 56,469.02 3.00 5 " 

1865 2 43 30,514.00 4.00 10 " 

1868 1 55 86,356.89 8.00 20 " 

1875 1 31 15,596.98 4.00 10 " 


certain railroad legislatic«i^® and a committee of inquiry was 
asked for. President Cowles appointed on the committee Plato 
Durham, who had introduced the resolution, S. S. Ashley and 
James H. Harris,^^ who was one of the members at whom the 
resolution was aimed. The two first mentioned were not on 
speaking terms with each other in consequence of a difficulty 
they had had shortly before on the floor of the convention, and 
Mr. Durham had never recognized any of the colored delegates. 
It was evident that the intention of the president was to pre- 
vent any inquiry from being made. The next day Harris re- 
taliated by a resolution providing for an investigation as to 
whether Plato Durham, **the delegate (so called) from Cleve- 
land," had not obtained his election by fraud.^® Neither com- 
mittee succeeded in discovering anything, and both were soon 

Notwithstanding the fact that the main purpose, supposedly, 
of the convention was to frame a constitution, no great eager- 
ness was manifested to begin the work. Committees were 
appointed to report the various articles, but it was quite a long 
time before they reported. The "carpetbaggers" controlled the 
committees, capturing the chairmanships of ten of the nineteen 
standing committees and of most of the special committees. 
They were thus given an opportunity to put their constitutional 
theories into definite form. The result of this was that there 
were many differences from the former constitution of the 
State. Individually or collectively the "carpetbaggers" con- 
trolled the convention absolutely. 

An ordinance was early introduced providing for some re- 
lief to the people by means of a stay law.^^ After it was ascer- 
tained from General Canby that he would enforce such an 

26 The matter referred to was the endorsement by the convention of 
certain bonds of the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford Railroad. 
Ordinances, p. 43. 

27 Journal, pp. 171, 178. 29 ibid., pp. 426, 473. 

28 Ibid., p. 178. 30 Ibid., p. 32. 


ordinance by military order one was passed providing that civil 
proceedings founded on causes of action prior to May, 1865, 
should be suspended until January i, 1869, or until the new con- 
stitution should go into effect.^^ General Canby, at the request 
of the convention,^^ made this ordinance operative at once.** 
The debate on the ordinance led to a discussion of the condition 
of the State, and there was at once noticeable, in quite a number 
of the delegates, a decided sentiment in favor of repudiating the 
entire State debt. The most earnest advocates of this were 
A. W. Tourgee and his colleague from Guilford, G. W. Welker. 
This appeared more fully in the debate on the section of the Bill 
of Rights, guaranteeing the public debt of the State. Mr. Tour- 
gee declared that the new State of North Carolina, which they 
were constructing, was under no obligation to pay the debts 
of the old State and that it would be ruinous to do so. He 
said, "He would be a fool who would emigrate to North Caro- 
lina if the new State is to be saddled with the debts of the 
old." This view was not shared by the majority, and the 
section was adopted. Mr. Abbott characterized Mr. Tourgee's 
doctrine as infamous, and Galloway, Harris and Hood, of the 
colored delegates, also expressed their horror at his proposi- 
tion.** It was suggested several times that the convention 
should forbid the collection of all private debts incurred in aid 
of rebellion, and as one delegate expressed it*° "give the citi- 
zens the same right as the State." *® Later an ordinance was 
passed directing the next General Assembly to provide for 
the payment in cash of the interest falling due after January, 
1869, on the State bonds dated after January i, 1866. All the 
coupons due at the time of the passage of the ordinance were 
ordered to be funded in a new issue of bonds.**^ This was op- 
posed by the Conservatives, who declared that it was for the 

81 Ordinances, p. 45. 32 Ibid., p. 125. 

33 General Orders, No. 57. Sentinel, April 16, 1868. 

34 Sentinel, February 17, 1868. »« Sentinel, February 17, 1868. 
86 S. W. Watts. 87 Ordinances, pp. 84-85. 


benefit of Northern men who held the bonds and that the 
lobbyists had secured its passage.^® 

Numbers of innovations were proposed and adopted through 
the influence of the Northern members. Their main argument 
was usually that the proposed provision was in sume New Eng- 
land or other Northern constitution. Every effort was made 
to reconstruct the State on such a basis, and the only matter 
of surprise is that the resulting constitution was not more 
foreign and extreme in its character. The main reason seems 
to have been in the rivalry between the three "carpetbag" lead- 
ers Abbott, Heaton and Tourgee. In their efforts to strengthen 
their respective positions, they yielded in many things to the 
natives of the State. But as it was there was a very radical 
difference in the new constitution from its predecessors. 

One of the changes which was most condemned by the op- 
position, and even by many Republican lawyers in the conven- 
tion, was the abolition of the distinction between actions at law 
and suits in equity. This has since been acknowledged to have 
been on the whole a wise change.^^ Provision was also made 
for a commission to prepare rules of procedure and practice 
in accordance with this change and also to codify the laws. 
Victor C. Barrmger, A. W. Tourgee and W. B. Rodman were 
appointed as commissioners for a term of three years with 
salaries of $200 per month.*® Mr. Tourgee had been licensed 

38 There was quite a body of lobbyists, the most prominent of whom 
was General Milton S. Littlefield, a native of New York, and formerly 
colonel of a colored regiment. He was said to have been lately concerned 
in an extensive lumber steal in Pennsylvania and had come South for 
new and better opportunities. He became very prominent in 1869, both 
in North Carolina and Florida, from his connection with the bond frauds 
in both States. 

39 It is, however, admitted that, as a result of the change, there 
has been a development of a lack of accuracy and care in the lawyers 
as compared with those under the old system. 

40 Ordinances, p. 79. For at least fifteen years after the adoption of 
the constitution, the courts were full of cases brought to secure inter- 
pretation of the instrument. 


to practice law in Ohio, and largely for his benefit an ordi- 
nance had been passed a short time before providing that all 
persons who had been admitted to the bar in other States could 
be admitted in North Carolina without examination, upon the 
production of evidence of a good moral character and the pay- 
ment of the required fees.*^ Later the judiciary committee 
was instructed to report an ordinance which would allow all 
citizens of the State who were of good character to practice 
upon payment of the necessary fees.*^ 

Another change in regard to the courts was even more criti- 
cised, and with more justice. The election of judges was taken 
from the General Assembly and put in the hands of the people, 
and the term of office was changed from life to eight years. 
The number of Superior Court judges was increased to twelve. 
This was a necessary increase, for the existing courts were 
over-crowded, and emancipation had largely increased the 
work of the courts. The Conservatives opposed the increase 
as a useless extravagance and as designed to furnish places 
for Republican lawyers who were ambitious to be on the 
bench. Judging from the number of aspirants it is not im- 
probable that it was welcome to many of the members of 
the bar. 

Naturally a question which arose early in the debate on the 
constitution was that of political disabilities. Two features of 
the subject were considered. Regarding the disabilities im- 
posed by the Fourteenth Amendment, a committee was ap- 
pointed to prepare a list of those persons whom the convention 
should recommend to Congress as suitable objects for relief. 
After a time the names of about six hundred persons, most 
if not all of whom were acting with the Republicans, were pre- 
sented and a violent debate followed, Mr. Durham leading the 
opposition and Mr. Tourgee defending the report. The former 
went on record, characterizing it as "a fraud upon the people 

41 Ordinances, p. 109. ^2 ibid., p. 123. 


of North Carolina and so intended to be." *^ Several of the 
Republicans favored a general removal of disabilities, but the 
majority were strongly opposed to such a thing, and all efforts 
at amendment of the resolution introduced by the committee 
failing, it was adopted.** 

The question of the qualifications for voting and holding 
office in the State then came up. The majority of a commit- 
tee, appointed to consider the subject, reported a proposed ar- 
ticle of the constitution providing for an unqualified manhood 
suffrage.*^ It also provided that all persons who denied the 
existence of a Supreme Being or who had been convicted of a 
felony or of treason should be disqualified for holding office 
under the State government.*^ Three minority reports were 
submitted. The first, signed by two native Republicans,*^ pro- 
vided for the disqualification for suffrage of all those who had 
ever attempted to prevent the exercise of the right of suffrage 
by any means, and of all those disqualified for holding 
office by the proposed Fourteenth Amendment, the re- 
moval by Congress of these disabilities operating to remove 
the disability imposed by the State constitution. It also 
provided an oath to be taken before registration.*® The 

43 He also said : "The secretary may take my words down. I do not 
care for the secretary or the convention either." Journal, p. 411. 

44 Messrs. Laflin, Legg, and Rice, of the "carpet bag" contingent, 
favored a general removal of all disabilities. Journal, p. 413. 

48 Conviction of a felony did not operate as a disqualification for the 

46 Journal, p. 232. 

47 Messrs. Candler and Congleton. 

48 Journal, p. 234. The oath was as follows : "I do solemnly swear, 
(or affirm) that I will support and maintain the Constitution of the 
United States arid the Constitution of the State of North Carolina; 
that I will never countenance or aid in the secession of the State from 
the United States; that I accept the political and civil equality of all 
men ; and that I will faithfully obey the laws of the United States and 
encourage others so to do. So help me God." 



two Conservatives on the committee submitted the second min- 
ority report. This stated that the right of suffrage was not 
inherent and that as the great mass of the negroes were not 
prepared for the exercise of the privilege, there was no reason 
why it should be extended to them. Denying the constitutional 
power of Congress to prescribe who should vote in North 
Carolina, and declaring that the whole scheme of reconstruc- 
tion was for the advancement of party purposes b}'^ "African- 
izing" and "Radicalizing" the South to offset the loss of elec- 
toral votes elsewhere, the signers of the report recommended 
that North Carolina should refuse to alter her constitution 
under dictation by Congress — ^to "confide the power of mak- 
ing laws to those who have no property to protect, and to be- 
stow the right to levy taxes upon those who have no taxes to 
pay."*® The third report, submitted by a "carpetbagger," 
agreed with the majority report, except that it recommended 
that the classes debarred from holding office by the Fourteenth 
Amendment should also be debarred by the State until the legal 
removal of disabilities.*^® 

The debate on the question opened with a great deal of heat, 
and with some interruptions lasted for three weeks. There 
was no doubt of course as to negro suffrage ; universal suffrage 
was not so certain. There were known to be many who favored 
some limitation so far as the Conservatives were concerned. 
Mr. Holden was favorable to some plan of this kind.^^ During 
the debate several propositions were made. One diilegate fav- 
ored an article which would prevent those then laboring under 
disabilities from ever voting ;^^ another favored disfranchising 
all those who should vote against the constitution adopted 

40 Journal, p. 235. 

BO He probably meant removal by the State; otherwise the provision 
was useless on account of the Fourteenth Amendment. 
Bi Standard, February 3, 1868. 
52 Sentinel, February 22, 1868. 


by the convention;'^* while still a third desired that power 
should be given the county boards of registration, the members 
of which in all cases should be required to take the "iron-clad" 
oath, to disfranchise any person who aided or used his influ- 
ence for the Confederacy, or who had thrown any obstacles 
in the way of reconstruction.** A seemingly favorite propo- 
sition was one to require aij oath which should express a 
change of opinion from the past and the promise of good con- 
duct for the future.*^*^ The Conservatives gave notice at the 
beginning of the debate that any imposition of disabilities as 
regarded the right of suffrage would result in the necessity 
of permanent military occupation of the State by the United 
States,*^® as any government that might be established under 
such a constitution would fall the day that troops were with- 
drawn. Immediately, and apparently as a threat, the amnesty 
act which had been passed by the General Assembly in 1866 
was repealed.*^^ The majority report was then adopted without 

53 Sentinel, February 22, 1868. This member, E. W. Jones, was prob- 
ably, the most bitter and proscriptive of all the members. 

54 Standard, January 24, 1868. 

55 An oath suggested by General Abbott is a fair type of those pro- 
posed. It is as follows: "I do solemnly swear, (or affirm) that I am 
truly and devotedly attached to the Union of all the States and opposed 
to any dissolution of the same; that I entertain no political sympathy 
with the instigators and leaders of the rebellion, or with the enemies 
of the Union, nor approbation of their principles or purposes; that I 
will, neither by word or act, encourage or countenance a spirit of sedi- 
tion or disaffection towards the government of the United States, or 
the laws thereof, and that I will sustain and defend the Union of these 
States and will discourage and resist all efforts to destroy or impair 
tbe same. So help me God." 

56 See speech of John W. Graham in Sentinel, February 25, 1868. He 
reminded the Republicans that the very men whose punishment they 
were then considering, had opposed a test oath in 1862. The test oath 
proposed in 1862, it will be remembered, was defeated largely through 
the efforts and eloquence of his father, William A. Graham. 

67 Ordinances, p. 69. See page 173 preceding. 


The other chief matter of party conflict was the question of 
the division of the races. Early in the debates on the consti- 
tution the Conservatives commenced to introduce resolutions 
or amendments designed to put the Republicans on record on 
the subject. The first of these was a series of resolutions 
which, after expressing the desire of the people of the State 
to be restored to constitutional relations with the Federal gov- 
ernment, declared that the reconstruction acts were unwise, 
unjust and oppressive; that the white and black races were 
distinct by nature, and efforts to abolish such distinctions were 
crimes against nature ; that the government had been instituted 
by the whites and should be controlled by them, and appealed to 
the masses of the Northern people for relief," from the degra- 
dation now heaped upon them.** The white Republicans were 
not ready to vote for this or against it, and consequently post- 
poned it indefinitely.^® Another attempt of the kind was made 
by the Conservatives in a proposed amendment to the report 
of the committee on the Executive Department, providing that 
no person of African descent should be eligible to any executive 
office. One of the negro members had already introduced an 
amendment to the effect that either the governor or lieutenant 
governor should always be a negro.*^® The latter was withdrawn 
later,^® and the former, needless to say, was overwhelmingly 
defeated.®^ A proposition made by Plato Durham^^ that the 
qualification for governor and lieutenant-governor should be 
the ability to read and write, met with the same fate. In 
the case of the militia and public schools the convention re- 
fused to require separation of the races.®^ A proposed section 

58 Journal, pp. 32, 35. 

B» This was probably the work off some Co(nservative sympathizer. 

60 Sentinel, January 28, 1868. 

«i Journal, p. 162. 

«2 Ibid., p. 158. 

63 Ibid., pp. 175, 287, 343. Mr. Graham introduced a resolution 
providing for separate commands in the militia, and also that no white 
man should ever be required to obey a negro officer. 


of the Bill of Rights prohibiting the intermarriage of the races 
was promptly tabled,^* and all marriages that had taken place 
under military authority, including several cases of marriage 
between whites and blacks, were validated.^^ But the same 
day a resolution was introduced by a colored member and 
passed, declaring it the sense of the convention that the inter- 
marriage of the races should be discountenanced and that sep- 
arate schools should be established.^® And finall}' a proposed 
section which provided that no white child should ever be ap- 
prenticed to a negro master and that no negro guardian should 
ever be appointed for a white ward was also rejected.®^ 

The constitution was finally drafted and adopted by the 
convention. The Conservatives on the final vote all voted 
against its adoption, and consequently none of them, signed it.®® 

The convention, while forming a constitution, was also en- 
gaged in other matters. The State was divided into congres- 
sional districts, with few changes from the former division. 
This led to a sharp debate among those who had aspirations 
for seats in Congress®^ Fourteen divorces were granted by 
the convention, and the Conservatives were thus furnished 
with further g^round of attack. Several of the Republican 
members also opposed this action of the convention.'^® A reso- 
lution was passed thanking the House of Representatives of 
the United States for the impeachment of President Johnson.''^ 
Just before adjournment a resolution was passed directing the 
next General Assembly to devise some plan, if practicable, 

64 Journal, p. 216. 66 Journal, p. 473. 

65 Ordinances, p. 86. 67 ibid., p. 483. 

68 Mr. Durham moved that the Capitol bell be tolled while the signa- 
tures of the delegates were being affixed. 

69 Sentinel, February 21, 1868. 

70 One Kepublican delegate, in protest, introduced an ordinance which 
provideil that all men in North Carolina were thereby divorced and at 
liberty to marry again. 

71 Ordinances, p. 126. '1 


to locate every citizen upon a freehold.^^ In this connection 
one delegate wanted a loan of $10,000,000 negotiated "to pro- 
vide homes for the homeless and for agricultural purposes." ^* 
This he declared was chiefly to be used for the negroes in pay- 
ment for their long labor without reward, their faithful service 
during the war and their devotion to the Republican party. 

Most of the daily sessions of the convention were very 
stormy. The Conservatives were few in number, but aided 
by the press they seemed able to provoke their opponents to 
anger at will. Nor were the relations of the Republicans 
among themselves always the best, and disputes arose several 
times when the chair was powerless to restore order."'* 

Towards the middle of the session Mr. Holden recommended 
that the "gag law" should be strictly enforced as regarded the 
Conservative members, by means of calling the previous ques- 
tion.^^ Possibly this, along with the hope of damaging Mr. 
Holden's political prospects, caused a Conservative member to 
introduce a resolution providing for an inquiry into Mr. 
Holden's complicity in the murder of President Lincoln, 
through his editorials in the Standard calculated to inspire an 
assassin.^* The reading of the resolution was not finished be- 
fore objection was made to its reception, and it was returned 
to the member who introduced it, as was his protest, the next 
day, against the action of the convention.'^'' 

After providing for submitting the proposed constitution 
to the people and for holding an election for State officers the 

72 Ordinances, p. 129. 
78 Journal, p. 119. 

74 Mr. Tourgee, on one occasion, engaged in an altercation with the 
president and was, at his order, arrested for disorderly conduct. He 
appealed to the convention and, by its vote, was released. 

75 Standard, February 8, 1868. 

76 Ibid., June 5, 1861. "Who will plot for the heads of Abe Lincoln 
and General Scott?" Mr. Holden, in 1868, denied the authorship of 
the editorial. 

77 Sentinel, March 5 and 6, 1868. 


General Assembly and members of Congress at the same time, 
under the direction of the military authorities, the convention 
adjourned on March 17th. This adjournment was sine die, 
unless the convention should be called into session by the presi- 
dent before January i, 1869. I^ ^^id been in session fifty-five 
days, and in addition to the constitution had adopted fifty-seven 
ordinances and fifty-six resolutions. 

After the signing of the constitution, on the day before 
adjournment, the convention took a recess which was spent 
in singing and horseplay. The next morning the same thing 
was done and General Milton S. Littlefield was invited to ad- 
dress the convention and sang "John Brown," the delegates 
joining in the chorus. Other songs sung were "Hang Jeff. 
Davis," "Yankee Doodle" and a number of negro melodies. 
Any departure from the dignity thought worthy of a legislative 
body had been previously unknown in North Carolina, and the 
amazement and disgust it caused was increased by the 
choice of songs. The Sentinel the next day headed its account 
of the proceedings as follows: 


The Disgraceful Closing Scenes! Com Field Dance and 

Ethiopian Minstrelsy!! Ham Radicalism 

in its Glory ! ! !" 

Amidst this came to an end the "Mongrel Convention," 
characterized by the Standard as "one of the ablest, most dig- 
nified and most patriotic bodies that ever assembled in the 
State." ^« 

2. Constitutional Changes. 

The new constitution as submitted to the people differed radi- 
cally from the former one. Apart from the fact that the gen- 
eral plan of government was of the type of the American State 

78 standard, February 21, 1868. 


governments, it was practically an overthrowing of the insti- 
tutions of the State. Much that was utterly foreign to the 
customs and ideas of the people was introduced, and to the 
minds of many the best features of the old constitution were 
omitted or amended beyond recognition.'^® 

In the Bill of Rights, the original of which had been adopted 
in 1776, there was less change than in any other part of the 
fundamental law. But quite a number of provisions were in- 
serted. The chief of these were as follows: All men were 
declared equal; the right of secession was denied, and the 
paramount allegiance of all citizens to the United States was 
affirmed; the public debt of the State was declared valid, and 
the war debt was repudiated; slavery was prohibited; the sus- 
pension of the writ of habeas corpus was forbidden ; the people 
were declared entitled to the privilege of education;®^ the 
legislative, executive and judicial departments of government 
were declared forever separate and distinct; the freedom of 
the press was guaranteed, as in the former Bill of Rights, but 
individuals were held responsible for abuse of this freedom; 
the quartering of soldiers upon citizens in time of peace was 
forbidden; it was provided that the courts should always be 
open, and in criminal cases greater protection was guaranteed 
defendants than in the original, though not more than was 
enjoyed under the laws of the State and the usage of the 
courts; and finally it was declared that all rights and powers 
not delegated by the constitution should be retained by the 

In the Legislative Department greater changes were made. 
The name of the lower house of the General Assembly was 
changed from the House of Commons to the House of Repre- 
ss The original canstitution was adapted December, 1776. It was 
amended by the convention of 1835, and the property qualification for 
voting for State Senators was abolished in 1857. 

80 This was provided elsewhere in the Constitution of 1776. See 
Sec. 40. 


sentatives. The property qualification for members of both 
houses was abolished,®^ and they were obliged to take an oath 
of allegiance to the United States before taking their seats. 
Senators were required to be at least thirty years of age. The 
elective Council of State was abolished and replaced by one 
composed of the executive officers of the State. 

In the Executive Department three new offices were created : 
Lieutenant-Governor, Superintendent of Public Works atid 
Auditor. The latter replaced the office of Comptroller which 
had been created by act of the General Assembly.^^ The elec- 
tion of these officers, with that of the other State officers which 
had formerly been in the hands of the General Assembly, was 
put into the hands of the people. The property qualification 
for governor was abolished,^^ and his term of office, together 
with that of the other State officers, except attorney-general, 
was increased from two to four years. Only two years previous 
residence in the State, instead of five, was required for the 
governor. He was given power to commute sentences in ad- 
dition to the pardoning power. All nominations of the gov- 
ernor had to be confirmed by the Senate. Provision was made 
for a Bureau of Statistics, Agriculture and Immigration. 

In the Judicial Department the most completer change was 
made. All distinctions between actions at law and suits in 
equity and the forms of such actions were abolished. Only 
one form of action, the civil suit, could be brought in the State. 
Feigned issues were abolished, and it was provided that the 
fact at issue should be tried by order of court before a jury. 
The county courts were abolished and a large part of their 

81 Previous to this, a Senator had to have been possessed, for one year 
before his election, in the county from which he was elected, of 300 
acres of land in fee. A member of the Commons had to have been pos- 
sessed, for six months before election, of 100 acres of land in fee or for 

82 Revised Statutes 1854, Chap. 23. 

83 Previous to this a freehold in lands or tenemetnts of $1,000 was re- 


powers and duties were given to the clerks of the Superior 
Courts. The number of the Supreme Court justices was in- 
creased from three to five, and that of the Superior Court 
judges from eight to twelve. Their election and also that of 
the solicitors was taken from the General Assembly and given 
to the people. The term of office of judges was changed from 
life or good behavior arid made eight years. The election of 
clerks, sheriffs and coroners was taken from the county courts 
and put in the hands of the people. 

Regarding taxation the constitution provided that the pro- 
ceeds of the capitation tax should be applied to education and 
the support of the poor. Provision was made for the pay- 
ment of the interest on the public debt and for the creation, 
after 1880, of a sinking fund for the payment of the principal. 
The General Assembly was prohibited from incurring any in- 
debtedness until the bonds of the State should be at par, except 
to supply a casual deficiency or to suppress insurrection, 
unless there should be inserted in .the same bill a provision 
for the levying of a special tax to pay the interest annually. 
The General Assembly was also forbidden to lend the credit 
of the State, except to railroads which were in the process 
of construction at the time of the ratification of the constitu- 
tion or to those in which the State had a financial interest, 
unless the question was submitted to the direct vote of the 
people. It was also provided that every act levying a tax 
should state its object and the proceeds could be applied to no 
other purpose. 

The constitution provided for universal suffrage. No one 
could register without taking an oath to support the Constitu- 
tion of the United States, and every officer had to take an oath 
of allegiance to the United States. All persons who denied the 
being of Almighty God, who had been convicted of treason, 
perjury or any other infamous crime since becoming citizens 
of the United States, or who had been convicted of corruption 


or malpractice in office and had not been legally restored to the 
rights of citizenship, were disqualified for holding office. Tak- 
ing any part in a duel also disqualified for holding any office 
under the State. 

County government was put in the hands of five commission- 
ers in each county elected by the people to exercise a general 
supervision and control of county affairs. It was also pro- 
vided that the people of each county should elect a treasurer 
and a register of deeds. The commissioners were directed to 
divide the counties into townships, and the people of each town- 
ship biennially elected two justices of the peace. No counties 
or other municipal corporations could contract a debt without 
the consent of a majority of the voters, and all the counties 
were forbidden to pay any debt contracted to aid in rebellion. 

The General Assembly was directed to provide a general 
system of public schools, and the executive officers of the State 
were formed into a board of education to succeed to all the 
powers and duties of the Literary Board. The State University 
was declared to be forever inseparable from the public school 
system, and the General Assembly was directed to establish, 
in connection with the University, departments of agriculture, 
mechanics, mining and normal instruction. 

Provision was made for a homestead exemption of $500, and 
it was provided that the real and personal property of a mar- 
ried woman should remain her separate estate and property, 
and in no way liable for the debts of her husband. 

Punishments for crime were provided as follows: Death, 
imprisonment, with or without hard labor, fines, removal from 
office and disqualification to hold any office under the State. 
Four crimes were punishable by death : murder, arson, burglary 
and rape.®* Provision was m)ade for a penitentiary, and the 

8* Several of the "carpet baggers" opposed the death penalty for rape 
as being too severe, and because certain Northern States did not have 
it. Mr. Heaton agreed with the native del^ates, who favored it, and 
made a strong speech in its defenca 


General Assembly was directed to provide for the care of or- 
phans, idiots, inebriates, deaf mutes and the insane; and au- 
thorized to provide houses of refuge and correction for the 
punishment and instruction of certain classes of criminals, 
whenever it might seem necessary. 

These were the more important changes. There were others 
of less interest and importance, but they are far too numerous 
to mention. A comparison of the two constitutions shows a 
very wide difference, and brings out very clearly the part 
played by the Northern members of the convention. 

J. Politics and Election of 1868. 

Early in January the Conservative executive committee called 
a State convention of ''The Constitutional Union Party" as 
they styled it. It met on February 6th, about fifty counties 
being represented. The majority of the delegates were former 
Whigs, but a large number of Democrats were present. The 
convention is particularly notable as marking the first re-ap- 
pearance in politfcs of many who had been prominent before 
and during the war. Ex-Governor Graham was made chair- 
man, and among the other officers and delegates were ex- 
Governors Vance, Bragg and Manly; Judges Manly, Merri- 
mon and Fowle; and Weldon Edwards, W. L. Steele, R. Y. 
McAden, Marcus Erwin, A. T. Davidson, R. H. Smith and 
W. N. H. Smith. A State organization was perfected and a 
series of resolutions, outlining the policy of the party, 
adopted. They declared devotion to the Federal Constitution; 
protested against the enforcement of the reconstruction acts 
as unconstitutional; declared the great political issue in the 
State to be negro suffrage and equality, if not supremacy, and 
registered their unqualified opposition to it ; declared the deter- 
mination of the party to protect the negroes in their civil 
rights and to allow such privileges as were not inconsistent 
with the welfare of both races; demanded early relief for the 
impoverished people of the State; expressed gratitude to the 


President for his efforts to restore the Union; declared the 
United States Supreme Court, and not Congress, the legitimate 
expounder of the Constitution; and expressing their distrust 
of "the organization controlling Congress," the convention 
"waived all former party feeling and prejudice" and invited 
the people of the State to co-operate with the Democratic 
party, at the same time electing delegates to the Democratic 
National Convention. Enthusiastic speeches were made by 
various delegates, among them Vance, who urged activity and 
fearlessness of the result of opposition to the radicals,** saying, 
"When free speech, a free press and a free ballot are restored, 
the wrath and indignation of an outraged people will damn 
them forever. It will be better for them that a mill stone were 
hanged about their necks and that they were drowned in the 
depths of the sea." ^® Nominations for State officers were left 
with the executive committee. This met, later in the month, 
and nominated a full State ticket.^^ Vance was nominated for 
governor, but declined, and Thomas S. Ashe was chosen. Mr. 
Ashe was a Democrat and had been, before the war, several 
times a member of the General Assembly. He had been a 
member of the Confederate Congress and had also been elected 
to the Confederate Senate, but never took his seat. He was of 
course under disabilities. In the other nominations the old 

85 Mr. Holden had warned the CJonservatives that every person who 
took part in the meeting would be kept forever under disabilities. 

86 Sentinel, February 20, 1868. 

87 The Democratic nominations were as follows : Governor, Z. B. 
Vance, later, Thos. S. Ashe; Lieutenant-Governor, Edward D. Hall; Sec- 
retary of State, Robt. W. Best; Treasurer, K. P. Battle; Auditor, S. W. 
Burgin; Superintendent of Public Instruction, Braxton Craven; Super- 
intendent of Public Works, S. F. Patterson; Attorney-General, Sion H. 
Rogers; Supreme Court Justices, R. M. Pearson, W. H. Battle, E. G. 
Reade, M. E. Manly, and A. S. Merrimon; Superior Court Judges, D. A. 
Barnes, E. J. Warren, Geo. V. Strong, W. S. Devane, R. P. Buxton, R, 
B. Gilliam, Thos. Ruffin, Jr., F. E. Shober, W. M. Shipp, Anderson 
Mitchell, J. It. Bailey, and A. T. Davidson. 


/ Whig influence was evident, and with but few exceptions the 
pominees had formerly belonged to that party. 

The Republican convention met on the same day as the 

. Democratic. As was expected, W. W. Holden was nominated 
for governor in spite of all efforts to defeat him.®® The 
"carpetbaggers" captured the nominations for Secretary of 
State and Superintendent of Public Instruction. Later, too, 
A. W. Tourgee was nominated for Judge of the Superior 
Court, after being defeated for a congressional nomination.®** 
The nominations of both parties for judges coincided in sev- 
eral instances.®® 

When the congressional nominations were made the "carpet- 
baggers" were more prominent. David Heaton, J. R. French 
and J. T. Deweese were nominated. The last was not the first 
choice of his district, for James H. Harris was nominated, but, 
through the influence of Deweese, withdrew and was replaced 
by Deweese.®^ The other four nominations were given to 

s8 B. S. Hedrick introduced a resolution declaring that the convention 
would nominate no person laboring under disabilities. The convention 
refused to receive it. 

89 The Republican ticket, as it finally appeared, was as follows : 
Governor, W. W. Holden; Lieutenant-Grovemor, Tod R. Caldwell; Sec- 
retary of State, H. J. Menninger; Treasurer, D. A. Jenkins; Auditor, 
Henderson Adams; Superintendent of Public Instruction, S. S. Ashley; 
Superintendent of Public Works, C. L. Harris; Attorney-General, W. 
M. Coleman; Justices of the Supreme Court, R. M. Pearson, W. B. Rod- 
man, R. P. Dick, Thomas Settle, and E. G. Reade; Judges of the Supe- 
rior Court, C. C. Pool, E. W. Jones, C. R. Thomas, D. L. Russell, Jr., 
R. P. Buxton, S. W. Watts, A. W. Tourgee, G. W. Logan, Anderson 
Mitchell, and R. H. Cannon. 

90 The Republicans nominated Judge Warren for a diflferent district 
from that in which he lived and where he had been nominated by the 
Conservatives. He refused to accept. 

91 A leader in the Republican party at that time assures the writer 
that, to his personal knowledge, Deweese paid Harris $1,000 to with- 

02 The Congressional nominations were as follows: 1st district, Re- 
publican, J. R. French, Democrat, Henry A. Gilliam; 2d, David Heaton, 


The canvass was prosecuted with great activity, and ap- 
parently with great hopes of success by both parties. The 
Union League and the Heroes of America were again brought 
into service. Mr. Holden was at this time president of th^ 
former, and James H. Harris was vice-president. W. F. Hen- 
derson was at the head of the latter organization. Each issued 
addresses to their members urging them to continued efforts.** 
The Republicans fought the campaign largely on matters re* 
lating to the war which would tend to excite bitter feeling. 
Vance's proclamations against deserters and his speeches favor- 
ing the support of the war were re-published and commented 
on. A special effort was made to reach the old non-slavehold- 
ing class and by arousing class prejudice excite them against 
the Conservatives. The Conservatives made their fight on the 
question of ratifying the constitution, which they opposed on 
many grounds. They argued that it made the negro a political 
equal and that it was part of an attempt to bring about social 
equality by its failure to require the separation of the races in 
V the schools and in the militia and by the opening of the Univer- 
sity to negroes. They objected to the apportionment of repre- 
sentation among the various counties as being so arranged as 
to increase the importance of the negro vote. Property, they 
held, had no representation, and higher taxes were made neces- 
sary without any increased benefit to the people. The pro- 
vision for the election of judges by the people was particularly 
criticised with reference to the fact that candidates for the 
Supreme Bench were making a political canvass and entering 
into general political discussions. The lack of any test of 
qualification for office was another feature much urged as a 
reason for the rejection of the constitution. 

The Conservatives received an unexpected ally in Daniel R. 

Thomas S. Kenan; 3d, 0. H. Dockery, T. C. Fuller; 4th, J. T. Deweese, 
S. T. Williams; 5th, I. G. Lash, D. F. Caldwell; 6th, C. J. Cowles, Na- 
thaniel Boyden; 7th, A. H. Jones, B. S. Gaither. 
83 Standard, February 5, 1868. 


Goodloe, SO far as concerned opposition to Mr. Holden and the 
rest of the Republican ticket. When the nominations were 
made, he said that Mr. Holden's name was "a synonym for 
whatever is harsh, proscriptive and hateful to nine-tenths of 
the white people of the State," and declined to support him.®* 
Goodloe's paper, the Register, while advocating the ratification 
of the constitution, fought almost the entire Republican ticket. 
H. H. Helper, who was associated with him, began the publica- 
tion of a campaign sheet called "The Holden Record/' in which 
he gave selections from the Standard which were calculated to 
show the inconsistency and general unfitness of Mr. Holden 
for the office of governor. He also advocated the election of 
Mr. Goodloe as governor. 

On account of the great changes in the constitution, the Re- 
publicans lost the support of many who might have been 
counted upon to act with them. B. F. Moore, who had thought 
the reconstruction acts unconstitutional, but who had been in 
favor of a convention as the best means of reaching some set- 
tlement of disputed questions and because he thought that the 
constitution needed some amendment, opposed the constitution 
on account of its radical nature and declined to act with the 
Republican party.®^ This was the case with many others. 

Another political element which to a slight extent played a 
\ part in the campaign was the mysterious Ku Klux Klan. 

94 Sentinel, February 29, 1868. 

»5 B. F. Moore, in a letter to his daughter, dated March 28, 1868, 
said: "It is, in my view, with some exceptions, a wretched basis to se- 
cure liberty or property. The legislative authority rests upon ignorance 
without a single check, except Senatorial age, against legislative plun- 
der by exorbitant taxation. * * * The Radical party proposes to fill 
our Congressional representation with those men recently introduced 
from other quarters of the United States, and to impose them on us 
through the instrumentality and league of the ignorance of Ihe State." 
(2) The writer is inclined to believe that the placards in Wilmington 
were put up as a joke, as there was no Ku Klux organization there 
later in the Reconstruction period, when the society had assumed a 
great importance in other parts of the State. 


Many statements in regard to its extent were made by the 
Standard, but it does not appear to have reached the greater 
part of the State, and had so far assumed very Httle importance. 
Nor did it commit any violence. According to the Standard 
the Klan in Warren county indulged in a grim joke as a 
threat to the negroes. Night after night, in their fantastic 
costume, they dug graves along the ros^ds which led into War- 
renton. But there was no noticeable effect upon tfie vote in the 
county, where there was a large negro niajority. In Raleigh 
and Wilmington placards were posted all about the city. Those 
in the former place were as follows: 

"K. K. K. " '^ 

Attention! First Hour! In the Mist! 
At the Flash ! Come. Come. Come ! ! ! 
Retribution is impatient! The grave yawns! 
The sceptre bones rattle! 
Let the doomed quake ! 

It is commanded. 
2nd G. C. OF BL. HOST." 

The character of the Republican candidates was attacked and 
attention drawn,^ often with justice, to their unfitness to repre- 
sent the people properly, or to perform the duties of the posi- 
tions to which they aspired. The most striking illustration of 
the case which the Democrats were able to make against the 
Republicans was as follows : New Hanover county had three 
delegates to the convention. General Joseph C. Abbott, A. H. 
Galloway and S. S. Ashley. The Republican candidates for 
the Legislature were the two first-mentioned, L. G. Estes, a 
"carpetbagger," and G. W. Price, a negro. Ashley was can- 
didate for the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction. 
Of all these none had ever listed or paid any taxes. The 
assessed value of the real estate in Wilmington at the time was 
$3,200,000. Of this the white people owned more than thirty- 
nine fortieths, and were in a minority of over seven hundred. 


The white Republicans, about one hundred and fifty in number, 
who controlled the majority vote, owned, altogether, about 
$150,000. This was an extreme case, but it shows the possi- 
bilities of the conditions existent at the time. The great ma- 
jority of the whites were disgusted with the experiment of the 
negro in politics, and many of the Republicans felt almost as 
keenly as the Democrats the irritating condition of affairs.®* 

As was to be expected, the campagn was exceedingly bitter 
on both sides. Personal encounters were of frequent occur- 
rence among the candidates, and the most violent personal 
abuse was common. Mr. Holden was hanged in effigy in sev- 
eral places, including the Capitol Square in Raleigh. 

The convention had provided for the submission of the 
] question of ratification of the Constitution to the voters quali- 
fied under the reconstruction acts. The State officers were to 
be chosen by the voters qualified under the new constitution, 
which meant manhood suffrage. But the voting on ratification 
of the Constitution and the election of State and county offi- 
cers took place at the same time, and by order of General 
Canby on the same ballot. By this piece of partisan politics, 
all who had been disfranchised by the reconstruction acts were 
prevented from voting. A new registration had been made 
and the number registered was increased considerably. The 
figures were: 

Whites 1 17428 

Blacks 79,444 

Total 196,862 

9« The following is illustrative of the workings of the reconstruction 
acts: "During reconstruction in North Carolina, three ex-governors, a 
former justice of the Supreme Court, several ex-Congressmen, and a 
number of other distinguished men were at a dinner together. The only 
person present who could vote or hold office was the negro who waited 
on the table." Sentinel, June 9, 1868. 


The election was held on April 21st, 22d and 23d, and re- 
sulted in a complete Republican victory. The vote on the 
ratification of the Constitution was — 

For Constitution 93,o86 

Against Constitution 74,oi6 

Not voting 29,774 

The vote for Governor was, ^^ 

Holden 92,235 ( 

Ashe 73.594 

The Conservatives elected only one member of Congress, one 
Judge, of those whom the Republicans had not endorsed, and 
one Solicitor. Of the eighty-nine counties, the Republicans 
carried fifty-seven. It was conceded that the Republicans 
polled almost their full strength. Thus it is seen that a large 
number of Conservatives, qualified to vote, failed to do so. 
This was, in part, the result of the general belief that, if the 
Conservatives were successful. Congress would set aside the 
election, or refuse to remove the disabilities of those Conserva- 
tives who were elected to office. And doubtless, such would 
have been the case. 

Fraud was common all over the State. By an amendatory 
act of Congress, passed March nth, 1868, voting upon affidavit, 
instead of registration, was authorized, and ten days was set 
as the period of required prior residence. This gave room for 
illegal voting, and, consequently, many voted in different coun- 
ties on different days. 

The Conservatives now directed their energies towards or- 
ganization for the coming national election, hoping that vic- 
tory might result, and that the new government might be over- 
thrown. Mr. Holden and the Republican leaders, on the other 
hand, entered into communication with the Republican leaders 
in Congress, hoping to hasten the final steps of reconstruction. 

»7 The figures are taken from N. C. Legislative Docs., 1868-9. 


The State had carried out nearly all of its part of the process ; 
and it remained for Congress to take final action and restore 
the State to its place in the Union. 

As has been seen,®^ the convention placed itself on record in 
regard to the impeachment of the President. IMr. Holden, 
also, had taken strong ground for it, stating that "the salvation 
of the South depends on the conviction of Andrew Johnson."*® 
He now, in the hope of securing the immediate admission of* 
the representatives from the State, telegraphed various North- 
ern papers, urging the displacement of the President, and stat- 
ing that war would begin again in North Carolina, if the Presi- 
dent should be acquitted before the State was admitted to rep- 
resentation in Congress and the new State government was 
installed. One of the telegrams was, in part, as follows : 

"Prompt action on the part of Congress, in relation to the 
administration of North Carolina, will be our only hope to 
avert a terrible civil war again, in the event that the usurper 
in the White House shall be acquitted. In the name of hu- 
manity, liberty, and justice, can it be possible that Andrew 
Johnson will be acquitted? 

W. W. Hor.DEN." i«« 

4. The Completion of Reconstruction, 

Although the constitution had been ratified and officers 
elected under it, the approval of Congress had not been given 
to it, nor had consent been given to put the new government 
into operation. In addition, a majority of the newly-elected 
State and county officers and of the members of the l^islature 
were under disabilities. Besides the disabilities which were 
based upon the proposed Fourteenth Amendment, there was 
also the requirement that all State officers installed prior to 
the formal restoration of the State should take the "iron-clad" 
oath. General Canby announced this with the publication of 

98 See page 243, preceding. 

89 Standard, April 15, 1868. 

100 Quoted in Sentinel, May 20, 1868. 

rb;construction in north Carolina. 261 

the election returns. This caused consternation among the 
"loyal," and Congress was looked to for relief. But Congress, 
for a considerable time failed to act. Finally an act was passed, 
which, after declaring their constitutions republican in form, 
provided that representatives from six Southern States, includ- 
ing North Carolina, should be admitted, whenever the proposed 
Fourteenth Amendment had been ratified by their legislatures, f" 
Their admission was also upon the condition that the constitu- 
tion of none of them should ever be so amended or changed as 
to deprive any citizen or class of citizens of the United States 
of the right to vote in the State, who were entitled to vote under 
the constitution then recognized, except as a punishment for 
crimes then felonious at common law, of which they had been 
duly convicted.^®^ This bill was vetoed by the President, on 
the ground that his approval of it would imply approval of the 
reconstruction acts. It was then passed over his veto and be- 
came a law. This was construed by General Canby to remove 
the necessity for the taking of the test oath by the new admin- 
istration, and he so notified the governor-elect, and later issued 
an order to that effect.^®'^ 

The same day that the bill admitting representatives from 
North Carolina became a law, the disabilities of nearly seven 
hundred persons, the majority of whom had been recommended 
by the State convention, were removed. With very few ex- 
ceptions, the list contained the names of Republicans only.^®^ 
This enabled the State government to be organized. By the 
act admitting representatives, the governor-elect was author- 
ized to summon the legislature to meet, and on June 25th, be- 
fore it became a law by passage over the President's veto, 
Governor-elect Holden issued a proclamation summoning the 
General Assembly to meet on July ist.^®* On June 29th, Gen- 

101 Act of June 25, 1868. 102 Sentinel, June 27, 1868. 

103 The convention refused to recommend B. F. Moore, among others. 
His name, however, was added while the list was before Congress. 

104 Standard, June 17, 1868. 


eral Canby instructed the chief justice-elect to take the oaths 
of office before a United States commissioner, and then to 
administer them to his associates and to the State officers. 
Chief Justice Pearson notified Governor Worth that he would 
administer the oaths to the governor on July ist. The same 
day, Governor Worth was removed from office by a military 
order from General Canby. The oaths were administered to 
Governor Holden the next day, and Governor Worth surren- 
dered the office with the following protest: 

"State oi^ North Carouna, 

Executive Department, 

Raleigh, July i, 1868 
Gov. W. W. Holden, Raleigh, N, C. 

Sir: — Yesterday morning I was verbally notified by Chief 
Justice Pearson that, in obedience to a telegram from General 
Canby, he would, to-day at ten o'clock a. m., administer to you 
the oaths required preliminary to your entering upon the dis- 
charge of the duties of Civil Governor of the State, and that, 
thereupon, you would demand my office. 

I intimated to the Judge my opinion that such proceeding 
was premature, even under the reconstruction legislation of 
Congress, and that I should probably decline to surrender the 
office to you. At sundown yesterday evening, I received from 
Colonel Williams, Commandant of this Military Post, an ex- 
tract from General Orders, No. 12, of General Canby, as fol- 

'Headquarters Second MiljO'ary District, 

Charleston, S. C, June 30, 1868. 
General Orders, No. 12. 


To facilitate the organization of the new State government, 
the following appointments are made: To be Governor of 
North Carolina, W. W. Holden, Governor-elect, vice Jonathan 
Worth, removed. To be Lieutenant-Governor of North Caro- 
lina, Tod R. Caldwell. Original vacancy. To take effect 
July 1st on the meeting of the General Assembly of North 

I do not recognize the validity of the late election, under 
which you and those co-operating with you claim to be invested 
with the civil government of the State. 


You have no evidence of your election, save the certificate of 
a major-general of the United States Army. I regard all of 
you as in effect appointees of the military power of the United 
States, and not as deriving your powers from the consent of 
those you claim to govern. 

Knowing, however, that you are backed by military force 
here, which I could not resist, if I would, I do not deem it 
necessary to offer a futile opposition, but vacate the office with- 
out the ceremony of actual eviction, offering no further oppo- 
sition than this my protest. 

I would submit to actual expulsion in order to bring before 
the Supreme Court of the United States the question as to the 
constitutionality of the legislation under which you claim to 
be the rightful governor of the State, if the past action of 
that tribunal furnished any hope of a speedy trial. 

I surrender the office to you under what I deem military 
duress, without stopping, as the occasion would well justify, 
to comment upon the singular coincidence that the present 
State government is surrendered as without legality to him 
whose own official sanction, but three years ago, proclaimed it 

I am, very respectfully, 

Jonathan Worth, 
Governor of North Carolina,"^^^ 

Governor Holden delivered his inaugural address, on July 
4th, to an enormous audience, composed, for the most part, of 
negroes. He reviewed the new constitution, and declared that 
the government established under it must be administered, in 
every department, by the friends of reconstruction. He de- 
clared his opposition to mixed schools and urged a develop- 
ment of public education for both races. He promised the 
colored voters that the ballot would never be taken from them, 
and threatened confiscation, if an attempt should be made to 
do so. Speaking of negro suffrage, he said: "The repug- 
nance to it, which exists among many of our people, will 
gradually subside when they shall be convinced by actual expe- 

106 Executive Letters, Worth, Vol. II, p. 17. Gov. Worth continued 
to reside in Ealeigh until his death, in September, 1869. 


rience that none of the evils they anticipated have resulted from 
it." As a whole, the address gave a better promise for the 
future than was expected, and far better than was fulfilled. 
, In the meantime, the legislature met and, on July 2d, ratified 
the Fourteenth Amendment.^^® General Canby was notified of 
the fact, and immediately ordered military interference with 
civil functions to cease. On July 6th, three of the members- 
elect of Congress from North Carolina were sworn in, and 
within a few days, two more were admitted. Two were unable 
to take the "iron-clad" oath,^®^ and were compelled to wait 
until the adoption of the substitute for the benefit of those 
from whom disabilities had been removed.^®® On July nth, a 
proclamation by President Johnson announced that. North 
Carolina had fulfilled the requirements of Congress. In the 
meantime, John Pool and J. C. Abbott had been elected to the 
Senate, and were sworn in on the 13th. By July 20th, the 
representation of the State was complete. Norjth Carolina was 
thus restored to her place in the Union and, legally, recon- 
struction was at an end. Biit from a social and economic stand- 
point, or from an internal political standpoint, it now began. 

106 The vote on the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment was: 
Senate, 34 yeas, 2 nays. House, 82 yeas, 19 nays. 

107 Nathaniel Boy den and O. H. Dockery. 

108 Laws, 40th Cong., 2d Sees., Chap. 139. 


Joseph Gregoire de Roulhac Hamilton was bom at Hills- 
boro, North Carolina, on August 6, 1878. He was a student 
at the University of the South from 1896 to 1900, and in the 
latter year received the degree of Master of Arts. For the 
academic year 1901-2, he was instructor in Greek in the Hor- 
ner Military School, Oxford, N. C. He was a student in the 
Faculty of Political Science of Columbia University from 1902 
to 1904, and a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 
From 1904 to 1906, he was Principal of the Wilmington High 
School, Wilmington, N. C. He is Associate Professor elect 
of Hisjtory in the University of North Carolina. 

L{ kiY